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Mark Flanagan

The Pale King and the IRS, April 15

By February 28, 2011

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The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

Momentum builds as the April 15 date approaches. Not for your taxes, but for the release of David Foster Wallace's final novel, The Pale King. Wallace's publisher calls The Pale King, "a deeply intriguing and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook." Given the fearlessness and originality of Infinite Jest, this is saying a lot.

By the way, The Pale King's April 15 release date is not coincidental, as the novel centers around the machinations of the organization which makes that date loom large in all of our minds. The premise of The Pale King:

"The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, IL, 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 re plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has."

So the momentum builds. This week, I've noted two separate bloggers indicating two separate pieces in The New Yorker as being excerpted from The Pale King. I don't know if either or both of these are in the novel, but they each make for excellent reading if you like David Foster Wallace. And I do.

"All That" by David Foster Wallace
"Backbone" by David Foster Wallace


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