I’ll offer two reasons for why you should definitely read The Pale King, directed at two different groups of people: those who don’t have a particular love for Wallace, and those who cherish him. To the first group: this is the most readable, the most mature, and the most focused fiction David Foster Wallace ever wrote. If you’re of the opinion that Broom of the System is some precocious, waffling, meandering text written by a too-smart college senior, or you think Infinite Jest is a slog not worth the slogging through, then The Pale King might just be for you. The individual vignettes are poised and confronting and jarring; they may not come together in the most graceful way, but there are moments in The Pale King that are just plain great, the moments that make Wallace fans go, yep, that’s why. And to the latter, who I guess needs no reason to read The Pale King other than the fact that they love him, that they miss him, and that they will read anything by him: you ought to know that The Pale King features multiple characters who might as well be Wallace; and not David Foster Wallace, but Dave Wallace. You know, the guy we all spent time reading about after David Foster Wallace committed suicide? There’s David Cusk, who suffers from a majorly distressing sweating disorder. There’s Meredith Rand, who despite her seeming normality, ended up in the looneybin. There’s David Wallace himself, who resents Philo, Illinois for its IGA groceries and reminders of his less-than-stellar high school years.