Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

3.8 29
by David Foster Wallace
     
 

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David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets hear. In this new collection, the author extends his range and craft in twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions. These stories venture inside minds and landscapes that are at once recognizable and utterly… See more details below

Overview

David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets hear. In this new collection, the author extends his range and craft in twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions. These stories venture inside minds and landscapes that are at once recognizable and utterly strange: a boy paralyzed by fear atop a high diving board ("Forever Overhead"), a poet lounging contented beside his pool ("Death Is Not the End"), a young couple experiencing sexual uncertainties ("Adult World"), a depressed woman soliciting comfort from her threadbare support network ("The Depressed Person," chosen for Prize Stories 1999: The O. Henry Awards). The series of stories from which the book takes its title is a tour de force sequence of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women. These portraits of men at their most self-justifying, loquacious, and benighted explore poignantly and hilariously the agonies of sexual connection.

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Editorial Reviews

Greil Marcus
...[T]he result is definitively American and confident: Martin Amis with nothing to prove....[E]ven as you might focus on details of how the story has been put together...there's less and less sense of an author; the story seems to be running on its own power, as if not even its author could stop it.
Esquire
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wallace, the young turk author whose ubernovel, Infinite Jest, was way too bulky for audio adaptation, throws himself gamely into the medium now, reading from his short fiction collection. In this audio debut, Wallace delivers his spry, satiric exercises in a sure-voiced, confident baritone. With the skill of a veteran narrator, he adeptly retains footing as he navigates his complex and wordy prose. His literary grab-bag trademarks include off-kilter descriptive passages, ponderous lists and footnotes, and a large portion of the tape is devoted to a one-sided interview with a psychotic sexual stalker. These odd tropes come across with humor, even tenderness, in Wallace's sensitive reading. He conveys the earnestness of a young, hardworking writer, eager to make his eccentric vision accessible through its spoken presentation. It's this sense of Wallace's strong desire to be appealing that will keep the listener with him throughout his sometimes difficult material. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
A host of talented narrators and actors—including television actors John Krasinski and Christopher Meloni—deliver nuanced performances of the late Wallace's classic. But it's the author himself who steals the show: his gentle, almost dreamy voice unlocks the elaborate syntax and releases the immense feeling concealed by the comedy and labyrinthine sentences. While the various narrators ably capture the essence of the text, Wallace's renditions of such stories as “Forever Overhead” and “Death Is Not the End” are transcendent. Essential listening for Wallace fans and a fine introduction for newcomers. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Stories, character sketches, monologs, and conversations selected from the late Wallace's (www.davidfosterwallace.com) exquisitely written 1999 collection are here read by a cast including the author and 14 actors featured in John Krasinski's 2009 film adaptation of the work. Many of the characters, such as the cad who dumps a woman he has lured across the country, are despicable; others—e.g., a gang-rape survivor, a men's room attendant—are captured by hideous circumstances. Language and situations are sometimes graphic. The performances, including that by the author, are exceptional. Recommended for literary fiction and creative writing collections. ["Fans of Thomas Pynchon and Donald Barthelme will find comparable challenges here," read the review of the Little, Brown hc, LJ 5/1/99.—Ed.]—Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC
Michiko Kakutani
Almost all the people in this book are members of what might be called Inward Bound....[Examines] the ways in which men can take advantage of women...The New York Times
Adam Goodheart
David Foster Wallace often writes...in mad cadenzas of simian gibberish that break suddenly into glorious soliloquies, then plunge again into nonsense....[The collection of stories] seems possessed...by a vandalizing spirit....[I]n his wild hits and misses, his eccentric obsessions and his sinister experiments, he is beginning to resemble another mad scientist of American literature: Edgar Allan Poe.
The New York Times Book Review
Adam Begley
Painful and often funny and very often hugely impressive and achieves, amazingly...piercing layers of irony, self-consciousness, fear, hostility, neurosis and plain old stupidity.
The New York Observer
David Kronke
...[I]t seems as if Wallace's imagination has acccelerated to the point where meta-fiction is dull. He's trying to eliminate narrative altogether and flood his readers' minds with images or moods without establishing time or place or any kind of context...There's a lot of inspired noodling going on here; he still writes like a man afire with sentences that run the length of paragraphs...But there's a sameness and a clinical sterility to the writing here that's simply difficult to become absorbed in. It's easy to admire the writing but not much else.
USA Today
Kirkus Reviews
A stimulating, if intermittently opaque, collection of discursive stories and even less fully fictionalized humorous pieces from the savvy-surrealistic author of Infinite Jest (1996), etc.

From the Publisher
"A host of talented narrators and actors-including television actors John Krasinski and Christopher Meloni-deliver nuanced performances of the late Wallace's classic. But it's the author himself who steals the show: his gentle, almost dreamy voice unlocks the elaborate syntax and releases the immense feeling concealed by the comedy and labyrinthine sentences. While the various narrators ably capture the essence of the text, Wallace's renditions of such stories as "Forever Overhead" and "Death Is Not the End" are transcendent. Essential listening for Wallace fans and a fine introduction for newcomers."—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal"

Brilliant... bitingly funny...wildly imaginative." -Salon"

Following the success of his massive, much-acclaimed novel, Infinite Jest, Wallace returns to fiction with a similarly dense, cerebral, and self-reflexive set of short works.... While the inauthenticity of male/female relations is a recurrent motif, the central theme is the nature of narrative itself, as in "Octet," where the author turns self-reflexiveness on itself, creating something that might be termed meta-meta-fiction. Fans of Thomas Pynchon and Donald Barthelme will find comparable challenges here." -Library Journal "

A supersonic delight, a full-scale harassment of the short story form.... David Foster Wallace is one badass fiction writer." -Benjamin Weissman, LA Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316925198
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
04/01/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
105,829
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 21, 1962
Date of Death:
September 12, 2008
Place of Birth:
Ithaca, NY
Place of Death:
Claremont, CA
Education:
B.A. in English & Philosophy, Amherst College, 1985;MFA, University of Arizona, 1987

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