The Pale King - David Foster Wallace

The Pale King

By David Foster Wallace

  • Release Date: 2011-04-15
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4
From 112 Ratings


The "breathtakingly brilliant" novel by the author of Infinite Jest (New York Times) is a deeply compelling and satisfying story, as hilarious and fearless and original as anything Wallace ever wrote. 

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.

"The Pale King is by turns funny, shrewd, suspenseful, piercing, smart, terrifying, and rousing." --Laura Miller, Salon


  • FEP

    By Siu fun
    I am having a problem with the footnotes too. The footnote numbers are all there in the text and the first few work o.k. But after that, when I tap any footnote, it always directs me back to footnote #1 again. So I don't know if the other footnotes are missing or I just can't access them. It's pretty annoying since footnotes are very important with DFW. The book itself is full of wonderfully moving human stories. So I still love the writer and love the book but as a reading experience it is a disappointment.
  • Does include footnotes

    By christor
    Just started this. But I wanted to note that the book I downloaded does indeed contain the footnotes. Because of the prior review, I spent a good deal of time searching for reviews of the footnote experience on kindle and iBooks. Even if there was a problem with the ePub file that caused the prior reviewer not to see the footnotes, it has been corrected.
  • footnotes

    By Subyruba
    The iBook version does not include the footnotes. As with Infinite Jest the footnotes are key to hearing the author's personal voice.