Pale King

Author(s): David Foster Wallace; Michael Pietsch (Notes by)

Adventure & Conspiracy

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.


Product Information

'He is almost certainly a genius... I started to think in Wallace-style sentences, and started to think that Wallace-style sentences are in fact the only sensible way of describing the world.' - Sunday Times. 'Monumental, almost unbearably poignant.' - New Statesman.

David Foster Wallace wrote the novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair. His non-fiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More and This Is Water. Wallace was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award and a Whiting Writers' Award. He died in 2008.

General Fields

  • : 9780143203599
  • : penguin random house
  • : Penguin Books
  • : March 2012
  • : March 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 592
  • : David Foster Wallace; Michael Pietsch (Notes by)