In “The Magic of David Foster Wallace’s Unfinished ‘King’”, NPR correspondent Daniel Roberts argues that The Pale King “is a David Foster Wallace novel to the core,” and that it is, in many ways, a complete work of art:
The notion that this book is ‘unfinished’ should not be given too much weight. The Pale King is, in many ways, quite complete: its core characters are fully drawn, each with a defining tic, trait, or backstory … Moreover, the book is far from incomplete in its handling of a host of themes, most of them the same major issues, applicable to all of us, with which Wallace also grappled in Infinite Jest.
But Slate blogger Tom Scocca begs to differ in his recent entry titled “David Foster Wallace Wrote Two Novels, and The Pale King Is Not One of Them”:
What is this book? If it were a David Foster Wallace novel, Wallace would have sent it to his publisher himself. It was made out of ‘heaps of pages,’ Time magazine reported, stuffed into a duffel bag by Wallace’s editor. Maybe, in a world where Wallace kept on living, the collection of words would have turned out to have been half of a novel. Maybe it would have been one compact novel and a one collection of short fiction. Maybe it would have been tinder for bonfire.
These are just two of several arguments made in the days leading up to The Pale King’s official release.
So…what do you think? Would DFW have wanted The Pale King published in its unfinished state? Would he have taken issue with the order in which the novel is structured? What does all of this even mean?
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