In April 2011, Little, Brown will publish David Foster Wallace’s final novel, an unfinished manuscript the author called the “The Pale King.” For your holiday-reading pleasure, The New Yorker published another excerpt from this unfinished work.
Here’s an excerpt: “Once when I was a little boy I received as a gift a toy cement mixer. It was made of wood except for its wheels–axlesâ€”which, as I remember, were thin metal rods. I’m ninety per cent sure it was a Christmas gift. I liked it the same way a boy that age likes toy dump trucks, ambulances, tractor-trailers, and whatnot. There are little boys who like trains and little boys who like vehicles–I liked the latter.”
According to D. T. Max’s long feature about Wallace and his final work, the drafts of the manuscript totaled “several hundred thousand words,” exploring the lives of Illinois IRS workers. In 2007, the author noted that one-third of the novel was finished. The website also features scanned pages from the novel, including artwork by Wallace’s wife, Karen Green. (Editors’ Note: A previous version of this post listed the wrong publication date for the unfinished novel)