Two writers dive deep into David Foster Wallace’s posthumous Pulitzer finalist novel, The Pale King. Seth Colter Walls takes a look at the tax classes the author took before he began writing, and Eliot Caroom checks the facts laid out in Wallace’s portrayal of the IRS. (Related: the opening lines of The Pale King, and a previously unpublished scene as well.)
In 1952, John Steinbeck wrote that Al Capp, the cartoonist and Lil’ Abner creator, might well have been the best writer working in the world at the time. In the Times, Andy Webster reviews a new biography of Capp, which reveals that underneath it all lay “a toxic chip on his shoulder.”
New this week: A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem; The Fall Guy by James Lasdun; No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa; Mister Monkey by Francine Prose; The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa; Truevine by Beth Macy; Love for Sale by David Hajdu; and The Loved Ones by our own Sonya Chung. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
The Guardian asked a bunch of authors, including Hilary Mantel, Geoff Dyer, and Ian Rankin, which books they “regularly reread and which novels they are desperate to unlock the secrets of.” Check out John Banville’s abiding fixation on the works on F. Scott Fitzgerald.