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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Cover

ISBN13: 9780316925198
ISBN10: 0316925195
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A collection of stories from David Foster Wallace is occasion to celebrate. These stories — which have been prominently serialized in Harper's, Esquire, the Paris Review, and elsewhere — explore intensely immediate states of mind, with the attention to voice and the extraordinary creative daring that have won Wallace his reputation as one of the most talented fiction writer of his generation.Among the stories are The Depressed Person, a dazzling portrayal of a woman's mental state; Adult World, which reveals a woman's agonized consideration of her confusing sexual relationship with her husband; and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a dark, hilarious series of portraits of men whose fear of women renders them grotesque.

Review:

One either loves or hates David Foster Wallace, but he's much more fun to love. Brief Interviews is a collection of 23 short stories, and the form seems to suit him better than the novel – or perhaps it's that the reader can finish a piece of his work within a year. His shortest story in the collection, "A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life," is a whole five sentences long (his novel Infinite Jest was a whopping 1079 pages). However, it perfectly lives up to its title:

"When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces."

The subject matter of these stories range from the bizarre to the banal, but always Foster Wallace's biting humor and eye for the smallest, and most extraordinary of details imbue the tales with a sense of the extreme. Linking the stories is a series of "interviews" with men whose confessions, and the repression revealed within, expose the truly hideousness within the stereotypical "everyman." Foster Wallace writes with an escalating tension, which is only sometimes relieved with deadpan irony. Meanwhile he subverts the story form and has fun with the structures of academia and literature. His writings have appeared in Esquire, Harper's, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other magazines and is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Lannan Award for Fiction, The Paris Review Aga Khan Prize, the John Train Prize for Humor, and the O. Henry Award. Take a merry Postmodern whirl of a ride with one of America's brightest boys. Georgie Honisett, Powells.com

Review:

"In this book he demonstrates his strengths as a stylist, humorist and thinker....one of these stories is easy, but all display an intelligence and a swagger that make them hard to put down." Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"...a mixed bag of 23 essays and short stories that display a range of intellect and talent that is unseemly for any one writer to have, let alone show off." R.Z. Sheppard, Time

Synopsis:

These eclectic stories explore intensely immediate states of mind with the creative daring that has won Wallace the reputation of being one of the most talented fiction writers of his generation.

Synopsis:

David Foster Wallace made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. The series of stories from which this exuberantly acclaimed book takes its title is a 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 connections.

Synopsis:

David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In this exuberantly acclaimed collection he combines hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expand our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

novacop923, April 20, 2012 (view all comments by novacop923)
(He painted himself into a corner -- don't let him take you with him!)

The broken-up, fractured thinking on "display" here -- though, truthfully and unfortunately, it's rendered as a shared "experience" -- is of the "long form" nature, so it might not be all that easy to discern, at first glance.

BUT: If you look at the title, even, this sort of "self-survey" [written by a MAN, is it not?] is, of course: "self"-DEFEATING . . . since YOU can NEVER be one of those "hideous" men. (Or CAN you? And 'round it goes ... um, see what I mean? Like ... RIGHT AWAY?)

I only read into the first few chunks of "Eternal Joke" [his mammoth, 1100pg.+ "opus" ... wait, did I get the title right?] but, I had to put it down once the "cause" of the tennis player's weird, unrealistic, you - have - to - take - it - on - faith - because - it's - so - "profound" ailment was "revealed" [eating really bad MOLD means a person would be unable to TALK ... kind of? ... for the most part, except in a "weird" way, with squeaks & squeals, like a sea lion? (Beat.) WHAT'S that now?].

PLUS: the whole "Year of the Glad Trash Bag"/"Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment"/etc. device was too labored -- "Oh ... that's like the Chinese 'Year of the Rat,' or something?" -- since that frame of reference is just, say, ONE ITERATION AWAY from being immediate enough to Westerns (i.e., his AUDIENCE -- unless one's in some sort of "appropriate" self-flagellating mode ... I guess ...?).

Similarly here, this book (which I not only read all the way through, but, pre-read, ALSO recommended to the "Book Club" my Team at Westlaw was starting at the time; my Team Coordinator soonafter suggested to me -- after one of my fellow [married, female, 20-something] copyeditors plowed through the thing -- that maybe my "tastes" weren't shared with the rest of the staff) sucks.

"The Depressed Person" story goes 'round & 'round -- clearly in an attempt to "mimic" an actual depressed person's thought processes (duh!) -- but, it completely AVOIDS the fact that, terrible as it may sound that "depression" is a DAMPENER of experience, not REALLY an "experience" in itself.

Skip it.
-----------------------------
HERE'S WORKS BY SOME '90S FICTION WRITERS/ESSAYISTS THAT'LL MAKE YOU WANT TO GO OUT & READ MORE; HOLDS UP ALONGSIDE CINEMA & MUSIC [THE OTHER TWO MOST POPULAR MEDIUMS OF OUR "LORE"]; AND "FITS" WITH THE DECADE'S CULTURE:
[1.] Life After God by Douglas Coupland (1995)
[2.] Letting Loose the Hounds: Stories by Brady Udall (1998)
[3.] The Exes: A Novel by Pagan Kennedy (1999)
[4.] Gun, With Occasional Music: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem (1994)
[5.] Slackjaw: A memoir by Jim Knipfel (1999)
[6.] Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy (Public Works Trilogy) by Matt Ruff (1996)
[7.] Mall by Eric Bogosian (2000 -- well, close enough, right?)
[8.] Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
[9.] American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
[10.] Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner (1993)
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megcampbell3, October 21, 2007 (view all comments by megcampbell3)
I've read that David Foster Wallace has "Woody Allen Syndrome" (we either love him or we hate him). While I love Woody Allen, I was unimpressed with David Foster Wallace. As a matter of fact, I also had "The Girl with the Curious Hair" in my reading stack, and after forcing myself to finish "Brief Interviews…", I donated them both to the reading rack at the train depot. There were a couple of stories that made me ponder, but on the whole, Wallace’s language was more a maze of pretension than anything resembling clarity, communication, or precision. He mostly includes stories without points alongside structured narratives where the prose is so muddy it turns reading into an act of mental gymnastics. When the two combine (muddy prose without point), the book is especially frustrating. I would not recommend this book. There are already more books available than can ever be read in a lifetime.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316925198
Author:
Wallace, David Foster
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Obsession
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1st Back Bay paperback ed.
Series Volume:
92-24
Publication Date:
20000431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.66 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316925198 Reviews:
"Review" by , One either loves or hates David Foster Wallace, but he's much more fun to love. Brief Interviews is a collection of 23 short stories, and the form seems to suit him better than the novel – or perhaps it's that the reader can finish a piece of his work within a year. His shortest story in the collection, "A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life," is a whole five sentences long (his novel Infinite Jest was a whopping 1079 pages). However, it perfectly lives up to its title:

"When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces."

The subject matter of these stories range from the bizarre to the banal, but always Foster Wallace's biting humor and eye for the smallest, and most extraordinary of details imbue the tales with a sense of the extreme. Linking the stories is a series of "interviews" with men whose confessions, and the repression revealed within, expose the truly hideousness within the stereotypical "everyman." Foster Wallace writes with an escalating tension, which is only sometimes relieved with deadpan irony. Meanwhile he subverts the story form and has fun with the structures of academia and literature. His writings have appeared in Esquire, Harper's, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other magazines and is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Lannan Award for Fiction, The Paris Review Aga Khan Prize, the John Train Prize for Humor, and the O. Henry Award. Take a merry Postmodern whirl of a ride with one of America's brightest boys. Georgie Honisett, Powells.com

"Review" by , "In this book he demonstrates his strengths as a stylist, humorist and thinker....one of these stories is easy, but all display an intelligence and a swagger that make them hard to put down."
"Review" by , "...a mixed bag of 23 essays and short stories that display a range of intellect and talent that is unseemly for any one writer to have, let alone show off."
"Synopsis" by , These eclectic stories explore intensely immediate states of mind with the creative daring that has won Wallace the reputation of being one of the most talented fiction writers of his generation.
"Synopsis" by , David Foster Wallace made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. The series of stories from which this exuberantly acclaimed book takes its title is a 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 connections.
"Synopsis" by , David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In this exuberantly acclaimed collection he combines hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expand our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.
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