Little, Brown has set a pub date for The Pale King, the posthumous novel by David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008 before finishing the work. The novel, which is set in the 1980s and follows a crew of IRS tax-return processors, will be published on tax day, April 15, and feature cover art by Wallace's widow, the painter Karen Green.
In a feature that ran in The New Yorker after Wallace died, D.T. Max wrote at length about the author's struggles to finish The Pale King. Questions have swirled about what kind of shape the massive manuscript left to Wallace's editor, Michael Pietsch, was in. How much of a story was outlined in the notes--Pietsch was rumored to be dealing with over 1,000 pages--has remained unclear. Pietsch has said that while the novel did not come in finished, " “it is a surprisingly whole and satisfying reading experience." Either way, Wallace fans are eager to see the thing that the author intended to top his 1996 opus, also over 1,000 pages, Infinite Jest.
Little, Brown is planning to work with bookstores to set up events with local writers on the book's release day for readings and discussions of The Pale King.