Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"It wasn't an easy read, but they say the best things in life don't come easy, right?" ~Lucas


The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, 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. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions--questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society--through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.
Lucas says:
"David Foster Wallace proves his mastery of his craft in his final novel by taking one of the most mind numbing and boring jobs and writing about it in a way that makes it seem mind-blowingly interesting.

This story was at first intimidating to me. I knew there were multiple narrators and I was having a hard time keeping track of who was narrating when. It soon occurred to me that I should not focus on the more formal structure of the traditional novel I was so desperately seeking out and instead focus on the story itself.  

As soon as my focus shifted to the story alone, a wonderful image of a place and a time started forming in my mind. It was the mid-80s in Peoria, IL. The employer of the main characters is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They work in one of the most tedious and boring jobs in the nation. Wallace makes this interesting by having the reader receive a detailed image of the inner workings of the IRS from the point of view of the character. This is done through memories, in the moment thoughts, dialogue, etc.

The Pale King is a novel that was shaped heavily by the editor Michael Pietsch. Pietsch took an unfinished novel left by the author at the scene of his suicide and made it into something that has already played an important role in contemporary English literature (even though it was only published a few years ago).

I would suggest that any lover of postmodern literature or contemporary American authors read this novel right away! It wasn't an easy read, but they say the best things in life don't come easy, right?"


No comments: