Connect with us

Blog

The Pale King Is a Heady Conundrum

Today, no matter how one feels about the man himself, it will be hard to ignore his impact on the book world with the release of his incomplete, posthumous novel.

Published

on

The Pale King Is a Heady Conundrum

It’s easy to dislike an author. A lot of people think Charles Bukowski bit one hell of a hole in the literary scene back in the latter half of the 20th century, but watching his relationship antics on YouTube is just a little disgusting. Others say the same thing about Hunter S. Thompson: love the books, can’t stand the author’s carefully orchestrated über-gonzo ways. And David Foster Wallace’s inclination toward elitist sentiments have often been a cause for readers to eschew the author, though it’s more difficult to find something to hate in his work. Today, no matter how one feels about the man himself, it will be hard to ignore his impact on the book world with the release of his incomplete, posthumous novel.

The Pale King brings readers on a trip through the lives of those who clock in with the Internal Revenue Service. Wallace himself plays a role in the story, a fact that has led to unending attention in publishing circles and in the media. Throughout his writing, The Pale King included, one has to marvel at Wallace’s surgical ability to manhandle the thoughts of average folk. For most, those thoughts have never been so genuinely plotted as they are when filtered through the analytical fortune cookie found in Wallace’s soul. Even in the novel’s incomplete form, Wallace proves his ability to hijack rambling streams of vague, while-you-load-the-dishwasher realizations and chisel them into lettered works of art.

Wallace writes of profound loneliness, and the despair found in the realization of limited intelligence, as if he himself were whispering his innermost thoughts onto the pages of The Pale King for each of his readers to witness. While heavy with a sense of something missed, the myopic sadness is somehow twisted into a shallow sense of hope that something better is surely around the corner. What that may have been, however, remains obscured in the pages of The Pale King that were never written.

Advertisement


Notes can be found at the end of the book, reminding readers of the crude nature of the work as compared to the polished nuggets typically associated with the DFW canon. The annotations are laid out for readers to understand the mechanics of the author’s tedious habits while penning The Pale King. These notes also serve to shine a light on aspects of the story itself, a sort of bastard half-brother to the author’s famed controversial footnotes.

Wallace fans will either love or hate the author’s undeveloped tale. Lovers of literature will embrace the chance to gobble up further ruminations from one of their favorite philosophical minds, just as readers feverishly inhaled Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and his other books. Wallace is often compared to some of the greatest minds of the literary world, Ernest Hemingway and Kurt Vonnegut to name just two. Those tags alone perk the ears of rabid readers. For them, nothing should stand in the way of enjoying the words Wallace so carefully arranged.

Others may cringe at the thought of The Pale King for that very reason. Here was a man who doted over every line, every nuance, like a father absorbed in the life of his newborn child. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see him suffer every word and how that word affected the one that came after it. Were his life a sentence, would Wallace want an unfinished, incomplete work to form the period? Does any magician cheer for joy when their mystical secrets are laid bare for all the world to see? Had Wallace allowed his life to be as long as one of his sentences, perhaps readers would have enjoyed a true work of creative beauty.

Advertisement


Those sunk in the philosophical conundrums proposed by Wallace, and his newest work, might question how the author himself would feel about the publication of The Pale King. Would he even have named it that?

With the book’s lusty release on tax day, us little “1040s” (as Wallace refers to characters found in the book), will either cackle with laughter at the ironic, clever humor, or be so beat down from a month of crunched numbers that a book on the IRS, even a parting literary gift from Wallace, may be the last topic bibliophiles will delve into. At least not this month.

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King will be released on April 15 by Little, Brown and Company. To purchase it, click here.

Advertisement


Advertisement
Comments

Blog

Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

Published

on

Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

Advertisement


Continue Reading

Blog

Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

Published

on

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

Advertisement


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

Continue Reading

Blog

Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

Published

on

Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

Advertisement


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Donate

Slant is reaching more readers than ever, but as online advertising continues to evolve, independently operated publications like ours have struggled to adapt. We're committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, please consider becoming a Slant patron:

Patreon

You can also make a donation via PayPal.

Giveaways

Advertisement

Newsletter

Advertisement

Preview

Trending