David Foster Wallace fans have at least two pieces of news to enjoy this week.
One is that Wallace's last novel, "The Pale King," will be released on April 15, 2011. And there's nothing random about that release date. According to Little, Brown, Wallace's publisher, "The Pale King" is set in “an IRS tax-return-processing center in Illinois in the mid-1980s” and follows “a crew of entry-level processors and their attempts to do their job in the face of soul-crushing tedium.”
"The Pale King" was unfinished at the time of Wallace's suicide two years ago. But Michael Pietsch, publisher of Little, Brown and Wallace's editor, said in a statement that the book 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.”
Little, Brown has released images of the book's jacket art, which is reported to have been created by Wallace’s widow, Karen Green.
Wallace was also remembered Tuesday night with a reading in Austin, Texas. Wallace's papers – including some of his heavily annotated books – will be opened to the public at the Harry Ransom Center there.
Wallace, author of novels, essays, and short stories, was best known for his 1996 novel "Infinite Jest." Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years."
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.