The Pale King Paperback (Book Acquired, 4.07.2012)


I was happy to get a trade paperback of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King this weekend (thanks Hachette!) for a few reasons. First, I detest hardback books — that didn’t stop me from picking up (and reviewingTPK when it debuted last year — but I know I’ll prefer this paperback for rereadings. More to the point, the paperback boasts four vignettes not published with the hardback last year, which I’m sure is in no way a cynical marketing ploy cooked up by the publishers. On those scenes:


Okay, so yes, I read them. They’re short, and they don’t really add to the novel; actually, they probably take away from the Michael Pietsch’s fine editing work. Still, DFW fans will eat them up. I’ll try to reflect more later.

There’s also one of those reading group guide sections, which cracks me up. Are book clubs gonna read this book? I mean, I hope they do, but they’ll likely hate it. Here’s a question that caught my eye, mostly because I wrote a bit about §19 this summer.


7 thoughts on “The Pale King Paperback (Book Acquired, 4.07.2012)”

  1. Lol – that readers’ group question is hilarious. What a ludicrously expansive and broad inquiry! The Indian epic Mahabharata essentially treats that question over 1000 pages and still it remains unresolved. Nevertheless, I haven’t yet read The Pale King. I am however a huge DFW fan, and intend to read it soon. Whether or not it resolves the question of individual vs collective responsibility remains to be seen…


  2. I love hardbacks, though I find their jackets a nuisance. When my copy of Satantango arrived, I was quite chuffed to see the cover art was on the book itself.

    I’m not so in love with the additional material being tacked on to the paperback edition of The Pale King, however. I look forward to reading the “new” material next time I go to Barnes & Noble.


    1. Yeah, the Satantango edition is lovely . . . ND did a great job with Bolano’s Between the Parentheses, which also is sans jackets. I wrote about my dislike of dust jackets here: , and featured a few books I think do a good job of avoiding the trap.
      I guess you bought the hardback of TPK? I was a bit annoyed too (and happy to get a free ARC, obviously)—but really, the “new” stuff is hardly essential.


      1. I did indeed get TPK right when it came out.

        Re: dust jackets, though I still don’t care for them, I used to be far more cavalier in my attitude toward them. In a move that makes me blanch to think about now, years ago I would throw away the jackets for hardcover books shortly after buying them. To tie this into Wallace, I have a first-edition Consider the Lobster, purchased around the time of its publication, the jacket of which has long since been disposed of.


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