The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
(With Intro by David Foster Wallace acolyte Michael Pietsch, who also edited the monstrous thing.)
This never-finished novel is 547 pages. The novel's theme, as far as I can determine, is madness. Highly recommended if you wish to go insane.
The Pale King comprises in one novel everything wrong with literary postmodernism. The story is about the Internal Revenue Service. Slogging through the novel is like trying to read IRS regulations. Wordiness and pointless complexity. Also much self-involvement. Very much self-involvement. I gave up at page 159.
Wallace's kind of writing is A.) Showing off. B.) Solipsism squared. C.) An extended creative writing assignment. D.) Literary fireworks and footnotes masking a core of stupidity.
I'm not simply name-calling. David Foster Wallace presents a nihilistic state of mind. The first paragraph is a word-clotted description of a field of weeds and insects which ends with the pretentious line: "We are all of us brothers."
Are we? Really? If so, what does that say? Brother to a weed? Communicant with a fly?
You know you're in trouble in Chapter 2 when you encounter a long paragraph which continues without break for many pages. Verbiage. No, not verbiage. Vomitry.
The sadly deceased author David Foster Wallace is, sadly, the highest value in the literary world today. Establishment literary critics love his books. ("--the greatest writer of my generation" -Benjamin Alsup, Esquire magazine.) Someone will have to explain it to me.
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown
REVIEWED BY: King Wenclas
BLITZ RATING: 3.5