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April 17, 2011

14 Down, 38 To Go - "The Pale King" (52 Books, 52 Weeks)

I don't think any other book has filled me with senses of both great anticipation and dread as much as David Foster Wallace's posthumously published novel The Pale King. To call me a fan of Wallace's writing would be a gross understatement, and his death affected me more than any other writer's. This book, his final novel, lay unopened in my messenger bag a week before I started it, before I could find closure to his writing career.

Set in an IRS office in Peoria, Illinois, The Pale King is at times brilliant, but definitely has the feel of an unfinished work. The author's genius is present throughout as he explores themes of boredom and solitude, but I found myself reading the book as a series of vignettes more than a novel. The notes at the end of the book hint at the opus this could have become, though I have to admit that the editor did an outstanding job of putting these fragments together while allowing David Foster Wallace's prose to shine throughout.

My next book is Daniel Clowes' graphic novel, Mister Wonderful.

also at Largehearted Boy:

other 52 Books, 52 Weeks reviews

Online "Best Books of 2010" lists
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)

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