Steve's Reviews > The Pale King

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
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Nov 18, 11


Though it's unfinished I love the long-range organization of this book - the alternation of extremely short chapters with obsessive chapters of up to 100 pages is pretty interesting in itself. Then between chapters 30 and 45 the general subject matter of the book - IRS employees and work - starts to dominate the overall mood. Which is to say that several short chapters are boring, nerdy in an annoying way rather than a typically David Wallace funny way, hard work to get through, hard to focus on enough to really understand, and hard to care about. Then chapter 46 comes and it is Friday 5pm in the book and two personae we hadn't previously met converse during Happy Hour and suddenly it is utterly engrossing and I am immersed in reading it and don't want to put it down - it feels like Friday 5pm has arrived for the reader. And one of the personae is focused on the other one's story she's telling and is so engrossed, so focused, that he starts levitating a fraction of an inch in his chair.

And I love the Author's Foreword which comes several chapters in and insistently contradicts the disclaimer that the characters and events in the book are fictitious. And then David Wallace becomes a character in the novel. And then he sort of disappears after a while, which a note tells us is part of the author's plan - he disappears-becomes creature of the system.
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