Unfinished David Foster Wallace book has new release date

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The Independent Culture

David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel about tax agents fighting the tedium of their jobs has a US release date - US tax day, April 15, 2011. The Pale King's cover was created by Wallace's widow, Karen Green.

Set at an IRS tax-return-processing center in Illinois in the mid-1980s, The Pale King tells "the story of a crew of entry-level processors and their attempts to do their job in the face of soul-crushing tedium," stated the book's publisher, Little, Brown and Company, in a news release.

"Wallace takes agonizing daily events like standing in lines, traffic jams, and horrific bus rides - things we all hate - and turns them into moments of laughter and understanding," said Michael Pietch, Little, Brown's publisher and The Pale King's editor. "Although David did not finish the novel," he adds, "it is a surprisingly whole and satisfying reading experience that showcases his extraordinary imaginative talents and his mixing of comedy and deep sadness in scenes from daily life."

The author committed suicide in September 2008, more than 12 years after the publication of his last, highly lauded novel, Infinite Jest. Wallace built a reputation as a major American writer of short stories, essays, and two novels. His style has been characterized as "maximalist," due to its many digressions, diversions, and extensive footnotes. His wife, a painter and graphic artist, discovered the manuscript that Wallace titled "The Pale King," a roughly 200-page draft.

An archive spanning Wallace's career opened at the University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Center on September 14. Little, Brown is expected to contribute the editorial files for The Pale King following its publication.

Read an excerpt from the book published in The New Yorker in March 2009: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2009/12/14/091214fi_fiction_wallace