>The Pale King and Post Postmodernism


We wait. Wait for moments where we’re no longer waiting, like when we’re having sex or are on vacation. And this goes on for about 80 years until we wait to die.

How do we combat self-imposed boredom? We think. And we feel. We think so much because we feel so deeply. And that’s how most people live. Waiting for about 95% and 5% living. There may  be occasional balances but for the most part it is skewed thusly.

A 50/50 balance is hard. Very hard. I can’t even imagine 100% living – maybe that’s what Buddha and Jesus did? It requires practice and meditation. When we find ourselves waiting and living in the waiting, this is called excitement. But excitement can quickly build expectations, which when disappointed mean that you lived maybe for a while, but prematurely returned to waiting.

This is what The Pale King seems to be about, according to Lev Grossman’s review. Which is why it sounds so good. DFW couldn’t deal with waiting anymore. But he knew about the imbalance. Infinite Jest documents it with the aid of postmodern gewgaws, which make it the postmodern novel, but which also detract from the human side of the novel. It aligns more closelywith the ironic farce postmodernism esteems. Perhaps The Pale King is one of first true forays into post postmodernism. I’ll let you know.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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