David Foster Wallace, The Posthumous King

Despite his relatively small output, David Foster Wallace has quite a reputation. Several posthumous books on the post-modern pagemaster, who committed suicide in September 2008, have helped establish Wallace as a beloved American author.

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself — an account of a road trip with Wallace written by journalist David Lipsky — and Consider David Foster Wallace — a book of critical essays analyzing his works — were both published last year.

In two weeks, the novel Wallace left unfinished when he hanged himself will hit shelves. The Pale King is a fictional memoir which exaggerates and examines the experience of being an IRS employee. In a not-so-subtle move, it’s set for an April 15th release date.

The Pale King was intended to be Wallace’s first novel since 1996’s Infinite Jest, his towering 1,000-plus page opus. Unsurprisingly, the new release is getting some press.

Add to the hype the fact that Wallace died young (he was 46), and by his own hand, and he could be open to charges of being overrated.

“It makes people romanticize him,” said Daryl Ellerbe, a bookseller at Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore. “But I feel that he wrote beautiful novels, so maybe he does deserve it.”

Reviews of The Pale King are complimentary, saying it’s very much a Wallace work, but they’re also critical, arguing that it’s flawed and doesn’t match up to his previous efforts.

Even if The Pale King isn’t quite the book that fans and critics have waited 15 years for, it is a consolation to hear once again from a brilliant voice that was silenced far too soon.

David Foster Wallace, interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1997:

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