The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace. DFW has been one of my favorites for a while now, the extremely intelligent, observant, hilarious, ambitious writer of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Infinite Jest, and others. I've read most of his works -- haven't gotten to Oblivion yet, or his book about the concept of mathematical infinity. Most of those former I've tackled several times, including IJ, a novel so complex it can't really be adequately described here except to say: it's about a little bit of everything. I remember being in graduate school for creative writing in the early and mid-2000s, being a DFW fan when others weren't, having frustrating conversations with other writers and writing students about DFW's work where certain miserable shits told me he was "gimmicky" and "too clinical" and "too clever" and "inhuman." In 2008, DFW hanged himself, having lost control of his severe clinical depression. I wonder if these people figured out he was human yet.
His death deprived the literary world of -- no, you know what? Fuck the literary world. He deprived me of future great works and enjoyment. He deprived me of it. Me. I won't get to read any more of his stories because, unfortunately, his brain was full of bad chemicals and he was unable/unwilling/incapable/who-the-hell-knows to get the help he needed. So I'm left with The Pale King, which is incomplete but at least something.
While we were out book shopping, we checked out the other literary offerings. Without DFW, this is what we're left with: