The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

The Pale King

byDavid Foster Wallace

Kobo ebook | April 15, 2011

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The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions--questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society--through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.
Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987). Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jes...
Title:The Pale KingFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 15, 2011Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316175293

ISBN - 13:9780316175296

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully insightful I read this book for my History of China course in University and found it to be captivating and very insightful. I learned so much.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books of all time. I have read this book about 3 times. Its so profound and beautifully written. I loved the three generations of women in China and how they all had completely different lives based on what was happening politically at the time. Great book with amazing characters.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intriguing! Learned a lot about human rights in China during Cultural Revolution.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning Wallace is a master craftsman and his keen societal observations will stick with you long after your reading.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A reminder of tragic history A difficult period of history that not a lot of people know about. Sometimes difficult to read due to the heaviness of the topic and the intricacy of the details Chang provides, but overall a very good read.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Swan lake It is long and you can get lost in the weeds. However good history of China during Mao days. Sad and at times hard to read with all the terrible things that happen to a peoples. Read it for the history
Date published: 2015-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wild Swans I did enjoy the book - it was a smooth read and very articulately written by Jung Chang. It took 3 generations of a family through what I would say is the toughest 4 decades a country could have gone through. It shows from the inside out what total havoc 1 or 2 people at the top can put upon the population of an entire country. It does not downplay the trauma that Germany, Romania etc have been through, but tells the story of a single family in China trying to play by rules that keep changing! It also shows the suffering that happened every time those rules changed.
Date published: 2015-03-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Tedious but I did it!! It took me 3 months to read this book....but I finally did it! As promised, this book describes 3 generations of a Chinese family, starting with the first person who was born in the 1800's. My reaction to this book was ultimately that I found it to be of very little entertainment to me. I was frustrated and irritated with much of it. My expectations were that this would be a book that would give me an interesting perspective into what life was like living through generations of Chinese history. But sadly, it is a book that is really a poorly told story which drones on and on about the hardship of the lives of these people. Chang is not really a writer as she believes and describes herself to be, but really just a person who wrote a story about herself, her perceptions of her life and the people in her life. It is mildly interesting, but leaves the writer with the question of "what is wrong with these Chinese people?". It does not elicit any sympathy or outrage as I would think that is what Chang was after, in telling this story. It leaves us wondering how generations of a people can be molded and brainwashed to do things that are clearly ridiculous. To be fair, she is able to express her own struggle with the lunacy of the time. But there are many inconsistencies in her story which leave the reader feeling confused about whether she is being truthful about the horrible situation, or whether she is doing her own version of propoganda and brainwashing, in an effort to give Western civilization her version, as though it were fact. One example of this, is when she is in university learning English, and asserts that there are no English publications for her to read so as to practice the language. In another chapter, she is asked to read an English newspaper by one of her friends. Where did this paper come from? So the inconsistencies in the story leave the reader feeling irritated and suspicious that the story is really not truly as she is describing it. However, I do not doubt that Communism is a crazy thing. So, I read it even though I really didn't like it because I thought it would improve. But it really didn't. It was just lots of the same. There is absolutely nothing uplifting about this book. No real happy ending. No real intriguing story line. I think that the story could have been much better told.
Date published: 2009-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hooked at first sight Fascinating Chinese history and customs are interwoven with fiction in this story of 3 generations of women who struggled through the past 100 years of turmoil in China.
Date published: 2009-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant I deliberately picked this book off my shelf (I'd had it sitting there, unread for almost 2 years) to coincide with the start of the Beijing Olympics. But it took me almost 6 weeks to make my way through this beautiful tome. It's a memoir, yes, but is also chock-full of Chinese post-imperial history. If you have ever wondered about how Communism took hold there -- or why it never faltered -- or what really happened during the Cultural Revolution, then read this book. It was fascinating and horrifying and hope-inspiring and compelling. Informative and to-the-point, Jung Chang paints a frank picture of her homeland while painting an honest picture of a family that both benefitted and suffered under the Communist regime.
Date published: 2008-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful, moving book This book tells the story of Jung Chang's family, from her grandmother who was the concubine of a General; to her Mother who married a Communist party official, disgraced during the Cultural Revolution; to Jung Chang herself, a participant and victim of the Cultural Revolution. It is a superb book which tells the recent history of China in the lives of people
Date published: 2007-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting look into Maoist China Chronicling the life of three generations of women, from grandmother, mother, and the author herself, "Wild Swans" is an eye-opening look into what life was like for the chinese people prior to, and during the rule of Mao Zedong, the former head of the communist party that is still in control of the Chinese government. From concubines and social upheavel to political activism, and unfounded accustations of treason against the government, "Wild Swans" sheds light on a time that is primarily unknown within the Western world. A wonderful book, and one that is so powerful in its message that it has actually been outlawed by the Communist party in modern-day China.
Date published: 2007-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Story! This book provides an amazing history of China in the last century through the 3 generations of women that the story follows. I learned so much about this foreign land, and the lives of the people who live there.
Date published: 2007-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening A fascinating history lesson as told by a woman who lived it first hand. You get to see the rise and power of Mao through the eyes of a young, impressionable girl who manages to justify his every action even when his rule results in the torment and torture of her own family. I found myself reading portions of the book aloud to anyone who would listen as the author describes the turbulent times and horrendous living conditions forced upon her countrymen. This is a book you will tell all your friends about.
Date published: 2006-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I was hooked from the first page! This is the kind of book that every woman should read. We think here in Canada that we have it though! This is the story of 3 generations of Chinese woman that have survived through countless ordeals during a period in history which a lot of us do not know much about. Once you have read this book you will want to find out more about Mao, communism and other aspects of this period which defined a country and its people. This writing style is fluid and realistic. Realistic enough that at points you can almost see, smell and feel what these women encounter. Although found in the biography section of our store, this book could also have been placed in the history section.
Date published: 2006-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazingly Gripping and Chilling Three generations of women recount their lives both before and during the Communist reign in China. It provides rare understanding into why the Communist government was welcomed with such open arms- an account rarely told in the Western world. This book is both gripping and heart wrenching as the women pour forth their tales of trials and triumphs during daily life in China.
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A breathless page-turner! I couldn't put this book down. You will find yourself instantly captured by the strong female characters and even more awed upon remembering that this is a story of fact not fiction. I highly recommend Wild Swans to anyone.
Date published: 2006-06-03