Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    New Favorites | November 25, 2014

    Powell's Staff: IMG Our Favorite New Favorites of 2014



    Every week, we gather together a small pile of newly released titles that we agree should be on everyone's radar. We deem these titles our New... Continue »

    spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Pale King

by

The Pale King Cover

 

Staff Pick

If I told you this book consists of 500+ pages detailing the inner workings of the massive bureaucracy that is the Internal Revenue Service as well as the interior lives of the people who work there, you'd probably tell me it sounds like a great way to cure insomnia. But Wallace successfully invests his characters and their surroundings with an almost mystical air, suggesting that what lies on the other side of utter dullness is brilliant transcendence — a point that is driven home when you reach the end of the book and realize you don't want to stop reading.
Recommended by Nathan W., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"The final, beautiful act of an unwilling icon...one of the saddest, most lovely books I've ever read...Let's state this clearly: You should read The Pale King.... You'll be [kept up at night] because D.F.W. writes sentences and sometimes whole pages that make you feel like you can't breathe...because again and again he invites you to consider some very heavy things." Esquire

Review:

"Deeply sad, deeply philosophical...breathtakingly brilliant...funny, maddening and elegiac...[David Foster Wallace's] most emotionally immediate work....in almost everything Wallace wrote, including The Pale King, he aimed to use words to lasso and somehow subdue the staggering, multifarious, cacophonous predicament that is modern American life." The New York Times

Review:

"To read The Pale King is in part to feel how much Wallace had changed as a writer, compressed and deepened himself...It's easy to make the book sound heavy, but it's often very funny, and not politely funny, either...Contains what's sure to be some of the finest fiction of the year." GQ

Review:

"It may be unfinished, but the reviews-cum-retrospectives all soundly agree: It's still a book to be read." The Miami Herald

Review:

"It could hardly be more engaging. The Pale King is by turns funny, shrewd, suspenseful, piercing, smart, terrifying and rousing." Salon

Review:

"Brilliant...[it] glimmers and sparkles." The Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

The character David Foster Wallace is introduced to the banal world of the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, and the host of strange people who work there, in a novel that was unfinished at the time of the author's death. By the author of Infinite Jest. 100,000 first printing.

About the Author

David Foster Wallace is the author of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, and Girl With Curious Hair. His essays and stories have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, Playboy, Paris Review, Conjunctions, Premiere, Tennis, The Missouri Review, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Wallace has received the Whiting Award, the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Paris Review Prize for humor, the QPB Joe Savago New Voices Award, and an O. Henry Award.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316175296
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Co.
Subject:
Literary
Author:
Wallace, David Foster
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20110415
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
548

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical

The Pale King
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 548 pages Little, Brown and Company - English 9780316175296 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

If I told you this book consists of 500+ pages detailing the inner workings of the massive bureaucracy that is the Internal Revenue Service as well as the interior lives of the people who work there, you'd probably tell me it sounds like a great way to cure insomnia. But Wallace successfully invests his characters and their surroundings with an almost mystical air, suggesting that what lies on the other side of utter dullness is brilliant transcendence — a point that is driven home when you reach the end of the book and realize you don't want to stop reading.

"Review" by , "The final, beautiful act of an unwilling icon...one of the saddest, most lovely books I've ever read...Let's state this clearly: You should read The Pale King.... You'll be [kept up at night] because D.F.W. writes sentences and sometimes whole pages that make you feel like you can't breathe...because again and again he invites you to consider some very heavy things."
"Review" by , "Deeply sad, deeply philosophical...breathtakingly brilliant...funny, maddening and elegiac...[David Foster Wallace's] most emotionally immediate work....in almost everything Wallace wrote, including The Pale King, he aimed to use words to lasso and somehow subdue the staggering, multifarious, cacophonous predicament that is modern American life."
"Review" by , "To read The Pale King is in part to feel how much Wallace had changed as a writer, compressed and deepened himself...It's easy to make the book sound heavy, but it's often very funny, and not politely funny, either...Contains what's sure to be some of the finest fiction of the year."
"Review" by , "It may be unfinished, but the reviews-cum-retrospectives all soundly agree: It's still a book to be read."
"Review" by , "It could hardly be more engaging. The Pale King is by turns funny, shrewd, suspenseful, piercing, smart, terrifying and rousing."
"Review" by , "Brilliant...[it] glimmers and sparkles."
"Synopsis" by , The character David Foster Wallace is introduced to the banal world of the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, and the host of strange people who work there, in a novel that was unfinished at the time of the author's death. By the author of Infinite Jest. 100,000 first printing.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.