April 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

 

Okay, I swear we all read other authors. But right now, I’m reading The Pale King and found this of particular interest. The “Editor’s Note” in the novel is a bit business-like, but this interview with the Atlantic addresses the seemingly insurmountable task Michael Pietsch faced when compiling the novel. Not only did he want to do justice to the work, but he needed to do justice to his friend.

I haven’t gotten too far in The Pale King–I stopped at the chapter where David Foster Wallace introduces himself as a character. I wanted to come back and read that when Harpo wasn’t lobbying for attention by sitting on my book. As Pietsch says in the interview, “…there was something—not just something David had created with great fullness—it was David he had created with great fullness. It was bewildering and exalting and thrilling.” It’s heavy, man.

Also: in one of the first chapters, a character spots a man wearing a t-shirt which reads “SYMPATHY FOR NIXON.” I keep thinking about this and it’s totally blowing my mind–is this a nod to the band that appears in Broom of the System–Spiro Agnew and the Armpits? Somewhere, in the universe of The Pale King, does Lenore Beadsman roam off-page? Daaaang.

Anywho, that’s enough out of me. Read, friends: David Foster Wallace’s Editor on the Book’s Path to Print

 

J

 

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§ One Response to

  • M says:

    Yikes. I haven’t purchased the book yet, and I’m not likely to do so tonight (I just took my shoes off, and I’d have to reach over and put them back on, and then tie them and it’s all an awful lot of work…)

    His editor’s words about the joyous struggle of working with a living writer to sharpen and improve his book brought me to tears. Yes, I’m in a weepy mood and yes, I’m likely premenstrual. But there’s a lot of meaningful shit there, about the importance of literature and the written word, about what it means to care so much about writing and reading, about what it means to care so much about another person. It had to be beyond painful for this guy to sit with Wallace’s words and not be able to talk to him or fight him on a paragraph or give him a hard time about a typo or something. And it’s a scary testament to how legit he was that many of us have spent these last years grieving. There’s other stuff going on that Freud could maybe sort out for me, but in some ways my grief at Wallace’s death was more significant than I experienced when my father died.

    Fucked up, party of one. But it’s cool, I got a bag of pizza rolls and I can eat them all.

    M

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