Pale King skeptic. In fact, I'm pretty skeptical about all posthumous, incomplete texts. In most cases, if an author didn't finish it, I'm not really interested in reading it (with obvious exceptions; e.g., Kafka). At The Howling Fantods, a great DFW site in general, Nick Maniatis has an alternative view that's worth a look. Here's the start:" />

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More Thoughts on The Pale King

I readily admit, I’m a Pale King skeptic. In fact, I’m pretty skeptical about all posthumous, incomplete texts. In most cases, if an author didn’t finish it, I’m not really interested in reading it (with obvious exceptions; e.g., Kafka).

At The Howling Fantods, a great DFW site in general, Nick Maniatis has an alternative view that’s worth a look. Here’s the start:

Over at Conversational Reading in Is This What The Pale King Should Have Looked Like? Scott Esposito puts together a few bits and pieces (including this neat post over at 454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157 comparing the excerpt ‘Backbone’ in the New Yorker to DFW’s 2000 Lannan reading of the same story) to consider what the published version of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King might end up looking like. I think there’s a little too much scepticism in Scott’s post compared to what I’ve read and heard around the web.

I’m both excited and feeling trepidation about the release of The Pale King.

But I think I’m a bit more hopeful than some others and I’ll try to explore why I think this is below.

WARNING: There are possible spoilers about The Pale King if you’ve been trying to avoid reading anything about it.

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Is This What The Pale King Should Have Looked Like? Earlier this week, I mentioned that The New Yorker has published a work by David Foster Wallace entitled Backbone, an excerpt from The Pale King....
  2. Publishing The Pale King The LA Times has an article about how Little, Brown editor Michael Pietsch is tackling the job of putting Wallace's hundreds of thousands of manuscript...
  3. Pale King Release Date David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel The Pale King is up on Amazon now with a release date of April 15, 2011. Here’s the descriptive copy:...
  4. Pale King Excerpt in The New Yorker Right here. For some context (and grave doubts as to The Pale King's publish-ability as a completed novel) see DT Max's excellent piece on Wallace's...
  5. Pale King Excerpt in The New Yorker In case that rock you’ve been living under is a little heavy . . . & if you want, you can pre-order the book here....

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3 comments to More Thoughts on The Pale King

  • jake

    “Properly handled, boredom can be an antidote to our national dependence on entertainment, the book suggests.”

    Is this seriously what the book is going to be about? How is the “mindfulness”? Between this and the Kenyon speech it seems DFW is prescribing a kind of delusional stoicism for whatever is bothering people.

  • Sean

    I think the “properly handled” part is pretty important there.

    Also I’m reminded of a thing John Cage said: “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

  • Sean

    I think the “properly handled” part is pretty important there.

    I’m reminded of a thing John Cage said: “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

    or also why not

    “The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”

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