As reported by The Millions, the first sentence of David Foster Wallace’s soon-to-be-published posthumous novel The Pale King is cropping up all over the internet. If you don’t want the first sentence of a 560 page book ruined (the novel consists of, roughly, 559 additional sentences ed. note: just kidding!) avert your browser. If you’re yearning, here you go:
Past the flannel plains and blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s‑quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscadine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
Pretty stuff, DFW, although I’m not sure if spinecabbage is a real word…The Pale King will be published by Little, Brown and Company on April 15.