A vision of hell — quoted in the NYT review — found in "The Pale King," the book that was pieced together out of the unfinished pages and notes left by the self-murdered David Foster Wallace.
It’s impossible to know whether Wallace, had he finished the book, might have decided to pare away such passages, or whether he truly wanted to test the reader’s tolerance for tedium...What the reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, does not say is that, in addition to wondering whether this section would have been edited down or rewritten, the reader must wonder whether this is the expression — or the cause — of suicidal despair. Reading long tedious passages — deliberately tedious passages? — how can one escape from the nagging thought that the author himself escaped from this tedium?
The big clash in the novel pits old-school I.R.S. employees, “driven by self-righteousness,” against newer ones with a corporate desire “to maximize revenue.” We have to slog through stultifying technical talk about “the distinctions between §162 and §212(2) deductions related to rental properties,” and inside-baseball accounts of obscure battles within the I.R.S. hierarchy. There is even one chapter that consists of little but a series of I.R.S. workers turning page after page after page.