The unfinished novel that David Foster Wallace left behind after his 2008 suicide will see release next year, according to a statement released yesterday by publisher Little, Brown & Co. The Pale King, a book Wallace had been prepping since finishing Infinite Jest in 1997, occupied much of the last years of Wallace’s life, with the author reportedly leaving more than 1,000 pages—as well as a mass of sketches, notes, and other instructions—for his wife, Karen Green. Wallace’s editor Michael Pietsch said in the statement, “Although David did not finish the novel, it is a surprisingly whole and satisfying reading experience that showcases his extraordinary imaginative talents and his mixing of comedy and deep sadness in scenes from daily life.”
Among those scenes: “agonizing daily events like standing in lines, traffic jams, and horrific bus rides—things we all hate,” which Wallace reportedly takes and “turns them into moments of laughter and understanding” in his story of “an IRS tax-return-processing center in Illinois in the mid-1980s” and “a crew of entry-level processors and their attempts to do their job in the face of soul-crushing tedium.” As befitting its tax-themed narrative, The Pale King will be released on April 15. Its cover (seen below) was designed by his widow.
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