>his books take themselves more seriously
Congratulations, you read the first chapter.
It's ultimately a book about boredom, sacrifice, selflessness, bureaucracy, self-overcoming and the beauty of the mundane. The novel invites you into the world of the IRS, dares you to be bored by it, then provides you with a character who is exactly the type of person who would become bored by it, who would put the book down and have a meltdown on /lit/ before gooning for an hour, and you see that character question his values and assumptions, with the IRS representing to him a source of structure and a means by which he can benefit the lives of others. Infinite Jest shows why you shouldn't binge on candy and nihilism, The Pale King suggests what you could be doing instead.