March 05, 2009
New Foster Wallace
Many thanks to my dear friend J-Credit for pointing out the story I missed in the Guardian despite reading it every day. It seems that David Foster Wallace's wife found a 200 page manuscript of an incomplete novel in the garage when she was going through his stuff. Called "The Pale King," it's set in a tax office in the mid-West and is slated to be published in full early in 2010. The New Yorker have printed an extract, "The Wiggle Room," which deals - in those long, snaky, rollercoaster sentences - with boredom. Once you've oriented yourself it's very funny (and very Pynchonian). Apparently, it's supposed to be a move away from the "audacious 'maximalist' style" of his earlier work to "a new, more straightforward technical direction," but it still reads very much like David Foster Wallace to me (which is no bad thing). There's also a very long accompanying essay by DT Max which I only just found. I haven't read it yet, but it seems, if the Guardian is to be believed, that it paints Wallace's decision to quit his medication (which ultimately led to his suicide) as an attempt to break out of a "creative impasse" and finish the book. Maybe I'll check that and come back to this. Or maybe I won't.