Sunday, March 09, 2014

Abandoned: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

Dear Lori,

I am really sorry you carried this 600 page book from the library to the car and then back from the car to the library. I only made it about 41 pages in.

James


I don't know a lot about David Foster Wallace but I like Andy Buckley's David Wallace character on The Office. I know that's random and inconsequential, but I hear that fits in well with DFW, at least the author, not the airport.

The Pale King was unfinished at the time of the author's death, but then I heard he's left other books unfinished, one ending with a character mid-sentence. There's some interesting notes at the front of the book from the editor who worked to turn it into a book (probably deserves a writing credit) and more at the end which addresses some of the confusion or questions left by the rough-draft state of the novel. Apparently there's discussion of supernatural and the struggles of workplace automation. Apparently there's always the building to the potential for something to happen without things actually happening.

I often read before bed and this book helped me to get to bed earlier - I'd be reading and fall asleep or realize I just didn't want to keep reading. Last night, I stopped mid-chapter, put the book down and was ready to sleep by 11 am. Some books will keep me up until 1, 1:30 at night reading.

There was one sort of random half-page that I thought was really awesome and I read it aloud to Lori and she thought so, too. It was something that will immediately make you more connected to any person on the planet (if you're able to communicate verbally) and it was almost as if he'd heard it on the radio and just dropped it into the book. Not to say that its brilliance couldn't have been his, but the randomness of it seemed a different kind of random from what I'd read so far.

So yeah, you know I hate criticizing other people's writing, they did get it published afterall. And in this case, they were eager to publish even though he'd passed away and it wasn't finished. I have no other DFW to compare against, but those who liked this seem to agree it's classic DFW, so I guess I'm not a DFW fan. This must have been another EW recommendation. Starting to not be a fan of EW either.
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