David Foster Wallace declared war on depression and addiction in writing his last, unfinished novel, D. T. Max writes in the New Yorker. The writer's suicide by hanging last year was the culmination of a struggle to live normally, to achieve what he called “adult sanity," without antidepressants or the labyrinthine writing style he had developed in Infinite Jest. His last testament to that struggle, The Pale King, will be published next year.
An ode to the transcendence of boredom, the novel is written in an approachable style.
“He wanted to tell his stories in a more straightforward way," and live just as honestly, Max writes. Wallace stopped taking Nardil, fearing it dimmed his emotions, and embraced life with “a sense of optimism and a sense of terrible fear," a friend said. “That’s what created the tension. And he didn’t make it."