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The Pale King Paperback – April 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 307 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wallace's finest work as a novelist...when Wallace steers the tanker back to its theme--the struggle to extract meaning from each second that passes, no matter how empty or lonely or indistinguishable from the second that came before it--The Pale King achieves power levels that Wallace never reached in his first two novels....His ability to render the fine finials and fractals and flourishes of a mind acting upon itself, from moment to moment, using only the blunt, numb instruments of language, has few if any equals in American literature."―Lev Grossman, TIME

"Deeply sad, deeply philosophical...By turns breathtakingly brilliant and stupefying dull--funny, maddening and elegiac...in almost everything Wallace wrote, including THE PALE KING, he aimed to use words to lasso and somehow subdue the staggering, multifarious, cacophonous predicament that is modern American life."
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Feverishly encompassing, sharply comedic, and haunting...this is not a novel of defeat but, rather, of oddly heroic persistence....electrifying in its portrayal of individuals seeking unlikely refuge in a vast, absurd bureaucracy. In the spirit of Borges, Gaddis, and Terry Gilliam's Brazil, Wallace conducts a commanding and ingenious inquiry into monumental boredom, sorrow, the deception of appearances, and the redeeming if elusive truth that any endeavor, however tedious, however impossible, can become a conduit to enlightenment.'"―Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

"Nothing short of sublime--the first two chapters are a real put-the-reader-on-notice charging bull blitz, and the David Foster Wallace sections...are tiny masterpieces....achingly funny...pants-pissingly hilarious."
Publishers Weekly

"One of the saddest and most lovely books I've ever read...Let's state this clearly: You should read THE PALE KING....You'll be [kept up at night] because D.F.W. writes sentences and sometimes whole pages that make you feel like you can't breathe."
Benjamin Alsup, Esquire

About the Author

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996.

Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

Product details

  • Publisher : Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 592 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0316074225
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316074223
  • Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.35 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 307 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
307 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2017
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Amazon customer2016
4.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy over-analysis (à la Asperger's) you will love this. It is funny.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2018
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E. Snowdon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very reasonable price and pretty prompt delivery.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 9, 2019
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Hugh de Lacy
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Complexity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2011
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P4!N1C
5.0 out of 5 stars Buona edizione, ottimo libro
Reviewed in Italy on April 18, 2017
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