Best Of 2012, Guest Editors: Rhett Miller On “The Pale King”

As 2012 comes to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

Rhett Miller cut his teeth with the alt-country Old 97’s, but years before the band released Too Far To Care, the catchiest and most compelling distillation of its cow-punk-meets-Brit-Invasion template, Miller put out his own little-heard first solo album, Mythologies. Now 2,800 miles from Dallas, where he got his start, Miller is a family man and has released his fifth studio album, The Dreamer. On all counts, the LP marks a return to basics for Miller after three studio albums that toned down the twang, ratcheted up the pop smarts and layered on the studio frills. Miller will be guest editing all week. Read our recent feature on him.

Miller: David Foster Wallace‘s posthumously released novel, The Pale King, would have been celebrated as a masterwork if it weren’t so wrapped up in the tragedy of his suicide. It takes place mostly in the Peoria, Ill., offices of the Internal Revenue Service in 1985, and is, at its heart, a novel about boredom. Doesn’t that make you want to rush out and buy it? You’ll have to trust me on this. It’s worth every agonizing moment. What, for me, always separated DFW’s fiction from the other writers lumped into the “post-modern” heap was the emotional depth and glittering truth to be found in the inner-lives of his characters. These are on display in this weird, fragmented book. And who but David Foster Wallace could make ennui so riveting?

Video after the jump.