Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

by David Foster Wallace

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Overview

"David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In the pages of his novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and the collections Girl with Curious Hair and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, he has created as unique a voice and view as any writer at work today, rendering a dazzling array of interior states with delicious insight and humor. 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 the 1999 Henry Award Stories). 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. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men gives us men and women, celebrity and bitter loneliness, sexual posturing and naked honesty, erudition and apeman babble-abn world whose emotional complexity and outright comedy closely resemble our own. In these remarkable stories, David Foster Wallace reaffirms his reputation as a "passionate and deeply serious writer" (San Francisco Chronicle) who again expands our ideas of the pleasures fiction can afford."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316925198
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/01/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 227,083
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.87(d)

About 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.

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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Death Is Not the End

The fifty-six-year-old American poet, a Nobel Laureate, a poet known in American literary circles as 'the poet's poet' or sometimes simply 'the Poet,' lay outside on the deck, bare-chested, moderately overweight, in a partially reclined deck chair, in the sun, reading, half supine, moderately but not severely overweight, winner of two National Book Awards, a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Lamont Prize, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Prix de Rome, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Medal, and a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a president emeritus of PEN, a poet two separate American generations have hailed as the voice of their generation, now fifty-six, lying in an unwet XL Speedo-brand swimsuit in an incrementally reclinable canvas deck chair on the tile deck beside the home's pool, a poet who was among the first ten Americans to receive a 'Genius Grant' from the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of only three American recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature now living, 5'8'', 181 lbs., brown/brown, hairline unevenly recessed because of the inconsistent acceptance/rejection of various Hair Augmentation Systems—brand transplants, he sat, or lay—or perhaps most accurately just 'reclined'—in a black Speedo swimsuit by the home's kidney-shaped pool,1 on the pool's tile deck, in a portable deck chair whose back was now reclined four clicks to an angle of 35° w/r/t the deck's mosaic tile, at 10:20 a.m. on 15 May 1995, the fourth most anthologized poet in the history of American belles lettres, near an umbrella but not in the actual shade of the umbrella, reading Newsweek magazine,2 using the modest swell of his abdomen as an angled support for the magazine, also wearing thongs, one hand behind his head, the other hand out to the side and trailing on the dun-and-ochre filigree of the deck's expensive Spanish ceramic tile, occasionally wetting a finger to turn the page, wearing prescription sunglasses whose lenses were chemically treated to darken in fractional proportion to the luminous intensity of the light to which they were exposed, wearing on the trailing hand a wristwatch of middling quality and expense, simulated-rubber thongs on his feet, legs crossed at the ankle and knees slightly spread, the sky cloudless and brightening as the morning's sun moved up and right, wetting a finger not with saliva or perspiration but with the condensation on the slender frosted glass of iced tea that rested now just on the border of his body's shadow to the chair's upper left and would have to be moved to remain in that cool shadow, tracing a finger idly down the glass's side before bringing the moist finger idly up to the page, occasionally turning the pages of the 19 September 1994 edition of Newsweek magazine1, reading about American health-care reform and about USAir's tragic Flight 427, reading a summary and favorable review of the popular nonfiction volumes Hot Zone and The Coming Plague, sometimes turning several pages in succession, skimming certain articles and summaries, an eminent American poet now four months short of his fifty-seventh birthday, a poet whom Newsweek magazine's chief competitor, Time, had once rather absurdly called 'the closest thing to a genuine literary immortal now living,' his shins nearly hairless, the open umbrella's elliptic shadow tightening slightly, the thongs' simulated rubber pebbled on both sides of the sole, the poet's forehead dotted with perspiration, his tan deep and rich, the insides of his upper legs nearly hairless, his penis curled tightly on itself inside the tight swimsuit, his Vandyke neatly trimmed, an ashtray on the iron table, not drinking his iced tea, occasionally clearing his throat, at intervals shifting slightly in the pastel deck chair to scratch idly at the instep of one foot with the big toe of the other foot without removing his thongs or looking at either foot, seemingly intent on the magazine, the blue pool to his right and the home's thick glass sliding rear door to his oblique left, between himself and the pool a round table of white woven iron impaled at the center by a large beach umbrella whose shadow now no longer touches the pool, an indisputably accomplished poet, reading his magazine in his chair on his deck by his pool behind his home. The home's pool and deck area is surrounded on three sides by trees and shrubbery. The trees and shrubbery, installed years before, are densely interwoven and tangled and serve the same essential function as a redwood privacy fence or a wall of fine stone. It is the height of spring, and the trees and shrubbery are in full leaf and are intensely green and still, and are complexly shadowed, and the sky is wholly blue and still, so that the whole enclosed tableau of pool and deck and poet and chair and table and trees and home's rear façade is very still and composed and very nearly wholly silent, the soft gurgle of the pool's pump and drain and the occasional sound of the poet clearing his throat or turning the pages of Newsweek magazine the only sounds—not a bird, no distant lawn mowers or hedge trimmers or weed-eating devices, no jets overhead or distant muffled sounds from the pools of the homes on either side of the poet's home—nothing but the pool's respiration and poet's occasional cleared throat, wholly still and composed and enclosed, not even a hint of a breeze to stir the leaves of the trees and shrubbery, the silent living enclosing flora's motionless green vivid and inescapable and not like anything else in the world in either appearance or suggestion.3

* * *

1. Also the first American-born poet ever in the Nobel Prize for Literature's distinguished 94-year history to receive it, the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature.

2. Never the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, however: thrice rejected early in his career, he had reason to believe that something personal and/or political was afoot with the Guggenheim Fellowship committee, and had decided that he'd simply be damned, starve utterly, before he would ever again hire a graduate assistant to fill out the tiresome triplicate Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship application and go through the tiresome contemptible farce of 'objective' consideration ever again.

3. That is not wholly true.

Table of Contents

A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life0
Death Is Not the End1
Forever Overhead5
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men17
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XI)35
The Depressed Person37
The Devil Is a Busy Man70
Think72
Signifying Nothing75
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men82
Datum Centurio125
Octet131
Adult World (I)161
Adult World (II)183
The Devil Is a Busy Man190
Church Not Made with Hands194
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (VI)211
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men213
Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko235
On His Deathbed, Holding Your Hand, the Acclaimed New Young Off-Broadway Playwright's Father Begs a Boon256
Suicide as a Sort of Present283
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men287
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XXIV)319

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Brief Interviews With Hideous Men is a set of vignettes told from the male viewpoint. Some are quite short, while others are much more lengthy. Not for the faint-hearted, there is lots of talk about sex and some raunchy language. My favorite tale was told by a man who picked up a woman for casual sex and ended up being moved by her life story. Hitchhiking, she was picked up by a serial sex offender/murderer, and managed to save her own life by talking the man out of his need to kill her by empathizing with him. The man starts out by regarding the woman lightly, just another plaything, but her story makes him realise that she has depth and is someone to be taken seriously. Another favorite is the retelling of that first time on the high diving board (not that many pools still have these due to insurance concerns). Wallace captures the moment completely, using every sense to vividly place the reader out there on the board as they smell, see, hear everything the diver does. No detail is too small for Wallace to remember and comment on. The writing is gorgeous even when the topics are disturbing. I can't think of an author who writes more concretely about the details of an event. This is definately not a book that feminists will applaud; the men here are brazen, outspoken and often churlish. But the reader will not soon forget these stories. This book is recommended for readers who like to dip into books and read one or two stories at a time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book chamged how i looked at life and at the world.
SGUT-KIN More than 1 year ago
I have had a fascination with David Foster Wallace ever since i first heard of him. He is fascinating. He is a man that was perceived as a genius and hated it. He just wanted to be a normal man. This anger at the way society looked at him was the reason for his depression. Back to the book he wrote. This book is like nothing i have ever read before. Its full of ridiculous stories and situations that make you laugh and think. I wondered how he thought of most of these stories. For those readers that are unfamiliar with Wallace, he writes with footnotes. These footnotes are long, insightful, and hilarious. The footnotes are essential to the stories. I myself am in a relationship and can relate to some of the ridiculous thoughts demonstrated in the book. Thats not to say that i relate to all of them, most of the stories are incredibly weird and its just relieving to think about not having these issues in my relationship. In this book, Wallace uses very great language and detail to describe situations, much like his review of Roger Federer. So, the bottom line is that Wallace is a fantastic writer whose writing is very enjoyable to read. This book is a very funny book that makes you think and i happened to enjoy it very much. Some stories are a bit boring but the majority are excellent page turners that surely make up for the unique boring/depressing story. Thinking back at those types of stories, they could be rather enjoyable and funny if you look at them as mockery of the common depressing situation and how people react to them. Well, thats my spiel to get people to go out and quench their intellectual thirst by reading books by the master of literary craft David Foster Wallace. I apologize for not capitalizing my 'i's.
LegalBeagle More than 1 year ago
David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a compilation of vignettes/interviews told entirely from the male point of view. And yes, these men are truly hideous! The cast of male narrators range from the garden variety exploitative womanizer/woman-hater, to the seriously deranged, to the truly frightening! Each story/interview is compelling in the same way that rubberneckers are drawn to vehicular accidents: shock and horror are mixed with fascination. Women readers in particular will appreciate Wallace's laser penetration into the dark recesses of men's souls. One interviewee calls his deformed arm "the asset" because he uses it to manipulative women into sleeping with him. Another male narrator brags about sexually exploiting a hysterical jilted woman. Several stories are detailed rants from men who hate women. While the interviewees/narrators are various degrees of repugnant the stories themselves, however, are exquisitely crafted with layers upon layers of details. For example, one story is a lengthy exposition on diving that is also about suicide. Wallace's craftsmanship is truly impressive! Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a fascinating, albeit disturbing, examination of the dark side of the male psyche. Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (September 8, 2009) Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Definitely not what I thought it would be but satisfying none the less. Some of the stories spark anger because of the appropriate title 'hideous men' but the way David Foster Wallace articulates human thought process through these many characters is great. The things that we think but are never ever shared and at times not even recognized by ourselves, until now.
roblong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You don't read much like this - every story is an experiment in style and overflowing with brilliantly marshalled ideas. It doesn't always work - one story, written in Clockwork Orange-esque language didn't work for me at all - but most of the time it does and it is always challenging and surprising, and often very funny. One story in particular, 'The Depressed Person', goes straight into my personal list of favourite short stories.
Ziggaroth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some of the writing in here affected me in ways I had never experienced before. It was at times mesmerisingly beautiful, profoundly challenging, funny, and deeply sad. At times it was also enormously frustrating (Infinite Jest was nothing like as difficult as some of these stories). Some stories fell flat. Much of the time, Wallace's rendering of first person voices, while undoubtedly technical masterful, just wasn't that much fun to read. This is a strange and complex collection. I think it's ghosts'll haunt me for some time.
lmichet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Breif Interviews With Hideous Men. This book is some kind of a literary masterpiece yeah. I just didn¿t enjoy reading it that much. I understand what this book is supposed to be, and it¿s very eye-opening to note what he is doing/trying to do/succeeding to do in any one of these stories, but it is simply not enjoyable to read. It is rather like¿ as a child does in one of the earlier stories in this book, the only story I enjoyed¿ finding yourself forced to leap off of a high-dive. Post-leap, there are several different ways to consider yourself as having grown somehow, but during the dive it is not at all entertaining. You may find yourself feeling harassed, terrified, bored, or any other of a number of unpleasant emotions, and when you are finished you will cry GOD I AM GLAD THAT IS OVER and you will go on living some kind of expanded life and cease to think much about said high-dive UNLESS you are one of those people who find themselves compelled constantly to do unpleasant things and therefore suddenly find yourself compelled, through this unpleasant childhood experience most other people are busy forgetting, to become a world-class high-dive leaper. The big thing is this: yes, it is clever to be all sorts of postmodern, and yes, those who can pull it off well are all geniuses and deserve much praise¿ and DFW can pull it off well, frequently¿ but this is still not the kind of thing that books were invented for. They¿re not enjoyable as short stories. I don¿t care if they are a `delight¿ and a `harassment of the short story form¿. I am not going to want to read short stories if the writer of the short stories wrote them in order to harass me. In the same way, though I would credit laudable creativity to an artist whose form of sculpture involved filling a room with knives, I would not particularly enjoy being in that room, and would instead feel a degree of tension of be a little bit upset.The only one of these stories I actually enjoyed was `Forever Overhead,¿ a brilliant piece about a boy on a high-dive. I think it is stunning. Other sections¿ the first of the `Hideous Men¿ sections, for instance, or `Church Not Made With Hands¿, a story about a young family in a tragic situation¿ are wonderful also, but are, in the case of the first, not as easy to enjoy, or, in the case of the second, so buried into the abrasive unpleasantness of the rest of this excellently-written book that by the time the reader gets to it he or she is simply too mentally exhausted to even recognize that this story is well-done and pleasant instead of abrasive. Putting the book down does not help¿ remembering prior sections can so trouble or bore that reading onward simply becomes as unpleasant as they were, regardless of whether or not the bit you are actually reading is itself unpleasant. The writing gets to be its least-bearable when he starts to write totally ironically about how stupid it is to always be totally ironic. I don¿t know if it¿s possible to sarcastically criticise sarcasm without sounding like a jerk, even if you ARE DFW. The fact is this: when DFW wants to make you experience, as in `The Depressed Person,¿ what it is like to enter the mind of a severely depressed person, he does it in such a way and with such accuracy and force that there is practically no room for the reader to reflect. That¿s how genuine it gets. It is the same, though less so, with the bit about an honored playwright¿s father who, on his death bed, insists on going on and on a bout how much he hates his talented son. DFW simply presents these relentless neverending trauma-filled paragraphs one after another as if he is pounding the reader¿s head with a bloody brick, and the reader must shout `God, this is spectacular, DFW! Now please get the brick out of my eye!¿ The question we should all be asking is NOT `Is this good?` The question should be, `Am I having a good time reading this?` It is a totally inescapable fact that wholly unpleasant
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With one exception, "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" aren't really interviews at all. More like depositions, or in some cases, one-sided conversations as if observing someone talking on the phone; it is never the less a hallmark DFW book, meaning lots of literary voyeurism. Sometimes we get in depth stories about how characters feel -- mostly about relationships, or attempted relationships. Some of these hideous men have serious, physical handicaps that can make realization of their dreams difficult at best. Some of these are funny, some are disturbing, and some are downright uncomfortably hostile. The unfortunate guy with a "flipper" for an arm was amusing in a pathetic sort of way, while the long story about another guy's sexual acquaintance getting raped by a psychopath was very much on the disturbing end.David Foster Wallace was a master at making mundane people interesting, finding a story where most would find none. This book is a lot of little such stories. It is inconsistent, however; some worked, many did not. The array of readers on the audiobook is almost worth the effort of listening.
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The more I read of David Foster Wallace's output the more it seems like his short stories exist as a playground for him to show off. Their are plenty of textual tricks on show in this collection and while that's admirable it's also alienating. Wallace talked up the idea of a "new sincerity" but these stories fly in the face of such words. The stylistic pyrotechnics are bold and smart and for that DFW is to be applauded; that doesn't make them stories that are easy to become emotionally invested in and that is my problem with this collection. There are probably only two stories in the book that I like and it's no coincidence that they are among the very shortest in the collection. Even a potentially very poignant and personal story like The Depressed Person is so overwritten that it becomes tedious and funny in ways that I'm not sure it's supposed to.In his novels DFW's desire to make a scene of his smarts is either reigned in by his editor or feels less invasive amidst the surrounding text. Likewise, one suspects his non-fiction is extremely readable because either Wallace or the magazine editor employing him deliberately craft his pieces in order to appeal to a relatively wide audience. Oblivion, which I haven't read yet, looks an interesting case - with its lack of footnotes (from what I've seen flicking through it) it perhaps indicates a more mature short story style from DFW, where he feels less of a need to display his bag of tricks. Wallace's early short story collections really aren't the place to see the best of him.
kevinspoelma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful. Important. Perhaps necessary. But above all - painful.
hendy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hated this book, didn't read past the first 20 pages. I think you would have to be a real literary genius to appreaciate and enjoy this form of literature. I'm a well educated woman who enjoys reading and I just did not get it. It didn't flow, didn't make sense, and you spend more time analyzing what the author is getting at or what he's trying to convey more than just enjoying it.
nog on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A not terribly successful experiment at postmodern ficton. There are really not stories being told in some cases, and even those that qualify are basically narration describing action or thought. I thought it was disappointing overall, although 'The Depressed Person' might allow the reader to speculate how Wallace's own depression might have informed the story. I found the 'Hideous Men' sections tedious.I enjoyed 'Infinite Jest' and Wallace's essays, so I was rather surprised that this one fell flat with me.
amydross on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this because I enjoyed the stories in Oblivion so much, but I'm sorry to say I didn't think nearly as much of this collection. So many of the main characters -- especially in the longer stories -- are whiney and self-obsessed, and obsessed with their self-obsession, and whinily apologetic about their whineyness, that it's hard to spend so much time with them. I didn't actually find much that I would call "postmodern" about this work. There's a level of playfulness in the text, but then the content undercuts it with so much self-seriousness. Some of the shorter stories, or the "brief interviews" of the title, were more interesting.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read from David Foster Wallace. I had purchased it over a year ago and unfortunately, didn't get to reading it until I was reminded I had it upon reading of his death. Overall, I can understand why he was considered a writer to watch. But, perhaps based on his suicide, I had a bias reading these stories. Especially the one specifically dealing with suicide. I began to wonder if his writing at least in this particular instance wasn't so much a creative fiction as something that he was mentally trying to unburden himself with.
oddbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to love David Foster Wallace. I bought this book after I had a dream. I dreamt of a strong-jawed man with long hair and later, when I saw the tail end of the movie based on this book, I Googled "David Foster Wallace" and realized he was the man I had dreamed about. So because I am sort of daft, I felt this was a sign.It wasn't and I feel sort of odd that I didn't love this book from a literary icon.It had its moments. "The Depressed Person" for me was the best story in this collection. I think it was the best story for me because, as a completely depressed person who feels a particularly deep horror about testing people with the depths of my loathing self-involvement, it resonated a bit closely. Despite the fact that this story has a long, droning quality, it suited the sort of long, droning quality of persistent, intractable depression. "Octet" was too meta, too... something. It seemed too self-conscious, forcing me to engage with the writer when I just wanted to engage with the story. I felt like a meta-brick was thrown at my face as I read it.The first few stories with the hideous men flowed well. But then we got to the later interviews with hideous men and the droned on, piling on when brevity would have made the point even better. I got lost at times, wondering if the men were really hideous, if they were, in some sense, just lost because the narrative was lost, meandering. Take this sentence, for example: "The fact that the Inward Bound never consider that it's the probity and thrift of the re-- to occur to them that they themselves have themselves become the distillate of everything about the culture they deride and define themselves as opposing, the narcissism, the materialism and complacency and unexamined conformity -- nor the irony that they blithe teleology of this quote impending New Age is exactly the same cultural permission-slip that Manifest Destiny was, or the Reich or the dialectic of the proletariat or the Cultural Revolution -- all the same."I fancy that I have enough intelligence that if I have to read a sentence more than three times then there is something going on that is deliberately distracting from clear meaning, that perhaps a clear meaning is not what is needed here and while I understand this style of writing in a manner that defies basic understanding appeals to people who find meaning in a disjointed narrative, I am not one of those people.It feels bad to want to love a book and not be able to do it.
trinibaby9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This had a lot of what one expects when reading works by David Foster Wallace. It was complex, original, saturated, rambling, puzzling and overwhelming at times. Underlying all of those things is an air of genius. The man was a master at his craft, his writing is unlike anyone else's. The way he fills a sentence with such detail, is amazing. At times it almost feels as if the words are falling over themselves, trying to get out and be heard. Praise for the man and his writing style aside this book was great for me on some levels and terrible on others. I have to say much of this was rather dark, but then I guess that's what should be expected considering the title. Much of it is strange and more than a little twisted, he's definitely giving us a glimpse of the dark and depraved side of humanity. Most of the stories revolved around sex, relationships and depression. At times I was fascinated and thought he'd hit the nail on the head, really made me think about things, and exposed the subject matter in a profound new light. At other times I was just completely put off and though what kind of mind thinks these things, let alone writes them. Some of the vulgarity and shock seemed unnecessary, but in the end it all adds to the over all work. This is definitely not as good as Jest, and I think in part it's because we are dealing with short stories or glimpses, as he calls them. I think DFWs work needs to breathe and be spread out a bit more in order to really work. A great if perplexing read, but definitely not light reading.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have rarely, if ever, encountered a writer who demonstrates such creative, brilliant use of language as David Foster Wallace! He ranks with Nabokov in my opinion! This is not so much a collection of stories as a collection of notions, ideas, and vignettes. Difficult to read, because the reader must read every word and take time to savor it. No skimming allowed here!
rdaneel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful collection of short stories, and quite subtle. Contains the only story I have ever read whose point is actually to bore the reader :-)
pynchon82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Aside from two entries in this collection (a moving short story entitled "Forever Overhead" and the scathing treatise on the stupidity of the post-modern movement entitled "Octet"), Wallace's second offering of short stories leaves a lot to be desired.Not unreadable by any means, but not as fun or well-written as Wallace's work tends to be. In most instances, this work just comes off as self-indulgent.
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AustinDGreat More than 1 year ago
Disclosure: I'm a fan of DFW, especially his essays and short stories so this might be biased. Brief Interviews is one of the the most oddly funny books I've read in a while. A few stories really stand out to me anyways (Octet, Death is Not the End) and of course the Brief Interviews. Wallace style gives detailed descriptions of things you would other wise not think about (smell of a pool, texture of sandles) and of course his ridiculous footnotes every where. If you looking for a different read or a change of pace, pick up Brief Interviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago