JJS reviews DFW’s The Pale King
“These aren’t showy passages. Just unusually precise descriptions of things we all do and see. We enter and recognize the modern-day office environment: “the desk practically an abstraction. The whisper of sourceless ventilation.” Friends left behind in a small town are imagined “selling each other insurance, drinking supermarket liquor, watching television, awaiting the formality of their first cardiac….
“Like all good citizens, I’m with those who wish to resist romanticizing his suicide, but there remains a sense in which artists do expose themselves to the torrents of their time, in a way that can’t help but do damage, and there’s nothing wrong with calling it noble, if they’ve done it in the service of something beautiful. Wallace paid a price for traveling so deep into himself, for keeping his eye unaverted as long as it takes to write passages like the one just quoted, for finding other people interesting enough to pay attention to them long enough to write scenes like that. It’s the reason most of us can’t write great or even good fiction. You have to let a lot of other consciousnesses into your own. That’s bad for equilibrium.”
- John Jeremiah Sullivan Reviews David Foster Wallace’s Last Novel, ‘The Pale King’: Books: GQ
Just got around to reading this review and it rules: Read here.