Valerie's Reviews > The Pale King

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
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Nov 20, 12

Read in August, 2012

"She played on this knife-edge most of the time—giving a false impression that was nevertheless concrete and tightly controlled. It felt like art. The issue was not destruction. Just as total order is dull, so is chaos dull: There’s nothing informing about a mess."

The book is primarily about that, creating order - order that fights at chaos but breeds bureaucracy...so that it actually starts to become chaos again - given it's size and scope. And boredom, the book is about tedium, and acceptance of the kind of life one might call "grown-up." Hidden inside of boredom is possibly a glimpse of what our truest responsibilities to one another are.

It is always frustrating to read a posthumous novel where author intent is hard to discern, but in Wallace's case I think it is important to try to parse out even partial works. He was a brilliant mind, reflective of some of the most insidious facts of our modern lives, and yet still awed by the beauty of it, awed by possibility itself, and able to fly far above ordinary thinkers to create the worlds in his strange fictions that run parallel ours and circles around it at the same time.
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