The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel
by David Foster Wallace '85
"This novel reminds us what a remarkable observer Wallace was--a first-class 'noticer' to use a Saul Bellow term, of the muchness of the world around him, chronicling the overwhelming data and demands that we are pelted with, second by second, minute by minute, and the protean, overstuffed landscape we dwell in." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
- Learn more about the author (view alumni profile)
- Listen to the interview with Mark Costello '84 and professor of English Andrew Parker
- Read the review from the Amherst magazine by Dale Peterson, the Eliza J. Clark Folger Professor of English and Russian
- Read an excerpt from The Pale King
- Join the discussion
The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Ill., appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling.
The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death in 2008, but it is a deeply intriguing and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook.