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Brief Interviews With ...
 
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David Foster Wallace
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Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  13,122 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
Amid the screams of adulation for bandanna-clad wunderkind David Foster Wallace, you might hear a small peep. It is the cry for some restraint. On occasion the reader is left in the dust wondering where the story went, as the author, literary turbochargers on full-blast, suddenly accelerates into the wild-blue-footnoted yonder in pursuit of some obscure metafictional fancy...more
Published (first published October 1st 1997)
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Paul
ON HAVING HAD IT WITH DAVID FOSTER WALLACE FOR THE MOMENT

Given that most of my goodread friends love DFW with immoderate, alarming gusto, this requires some kind of explanation.

There’s a direct parallel between DFW and James Joyce. They both tended perpetually towards the encyclopaedic. They were utterly indifferent to audience expectation - even to the modernist, avantgardish audience they themselves created. Their main books are vast, oceanic, limitless affairs. They appeared to wish to use ev...more
Samadrita
To call these meanderings and sub-meanderings of a brilliant mind short stories, will be akin to putting a leash on DFW's creativity with the aid of conventional terminologies and thereby undervaluing the sheer inventiveness on display in this compelling collection.
In course of my limited venturings into DFW's literary landscapes I have arrived at one crucial inference. That to read DFW is to transgress the very act of simply reading through and discover a newer way to commune with his chain of...more
B0nnie
The cover, someone wearing a paper bag, presents a sad, pathetic image. That - along with the title - implies elephant man ugliness, and I'm inclined to be sympathetic before I even start to read. It quickly becomes apparent that the hideousness does not refer to any exterior quality (sometimes there is a physical component to the ugliness, but that fact is secondary). These guys are creeps. The real problem is always within. The “Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed” services are not...more
Stephen M
A Brief Word on the Famous Interview #20

I'm here to air my total ambivalence after having read the final interview (second to last story in the collection) and not knowing what at all to make of the story. Yes, it is very well written and DFW had certainly mastered the interview style by this point in the book. The way that the Hideous Men speak in each of the interviews is quite natural and sounds true from the stories that I've heard many guys tell w/r/t women, sexual encounters etc. And it is...more
Jason
I sold my first car just a little over a year ago. It was sort of a bittersweet thing for me because even though that rustbox was old and broken there was a comfortable familiarity there. I loved it in spite of itself. I venture to guess that if I were ever to get back into the driver’s seat (theoretically, of course—the car is long gone now), I’d be awash in nostalgic warmth and tenderness for it. Then, I’d start driving it and quickly remember that yes, the turn signal does sometimes blink spo...more
sarah
Apr 06, 2007 sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English majors
Shelves: shortstories
Usually when some undergraduate English major brings up DFW to me at a keg party I tend auto-file them under "douchebag." Because, let's be honest people - Infinite Jest was profoundly not good. But everything that's irritating about Wallace's thoroughly self-aware postmodern writing style is somehow much more stomachable in smaller bites. Brief Interviews has its highs and lows - the quality is extremely variant between the pieces - but when it's on, it is ON. In fact, Brief Interviews holds mo...more
Hannah  Messler
It's official: my heart is broken for David Foster Wallace. Anyone who thinks they don't like him is, I'm sorry, an ass. This shit is just not up for debate.
MJ Nicholls
4.5 stars rounded up to a fanboyish five. Brief Interviews is the strongest short story collection from the affectionately acronymously monikered DFW in this reviewer’s eyes—Girl With Curious Hair falling too far into a sort of rat-escaping-the-fictional-labyrinth obliqueness, and Oblivion supersized with unstoppable novella-length formal flops. Both flaws are in evidence here but are steeped in so much hip-shaking wonderment it’s heartless not too turn a blind eye. ‘Forever Overhead’ and ‘The D...more
Mala


Recommended for: DFW fans, ppl who want to expand their vocabulary & their mind.
Shelf: Postmodernism,metafiction,American writer,short stories.

I have many DFW works on my shelf but i picked this particular book up as the cover really grabbed my attention: the male face; covered in burlap sack,reminded me of the Phantom from 'The Phantom of the Opera', but unlike the tortured,homicidal,musical genius whose passion,angelic voice & sad past,made him a tragic character, hence,easy to feel co...more
Erikaaaa
Jul 30, 2008 Erikaaaa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erikaaaa by: Paul
If there are 12 things i appreciate in the world, i'm sure one of them is repetition for effect and i don't care if it's in music or in humor, anything. I'm not saying that's DFW's best element here, but it's done sooooo masterfully and it just works for me. I love tight and elegant prose, duh, but if you're going to be neurotic then just go all the way and DO IT and don't stop, keep going, it's so good and getting better.

From a linguistic view, yep, it's astounding. The subtleties of language t...more
Lee
Originally posted this on Eyeshot.net way back in 1999:

In all the reviews I read of David Foster Wallace’s recently published “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” I haven’t read a discussion of generosity. (My motivation for searching through the articles is simple: I wanted a reviewer to validate my thoughts, and if none did, I wanted to express this idea of generosity and make it accessible to, like, set everything straight.) Reviewers of Mr. Wallace’s latest book often mention “sex” and “ali...more
Matt
The story 'Forver Overhead' made me realize the one thing that I appreciate most about DFW. Much of his writing is executed with such exquisite, painstaking detail that it not only causes me to visualize the scenario more clearly, but often at the same time a particular scene will make me recall memories that were long ago misplaced. This story is about a thirteen-year-old boy who works up the courage to tackle that youthful right of passage of going off of the high dive for the first time. The...more
Laura
I just finished reading Brief 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 h...more
Jenn(ifer)
Ugh. Wow, this is just... bad. By page 230, I had had enough. The thing is, it's as if he decided he had to use every trick up his literary sleeve and instead of relying on the ingenuity and originality of his stories, he mucks it all up by trying too hard to be "unique." There are the brief interviews, which in and of themselves are interesting (saving this reviewer from having to give the author of one of my favorite books of the year one measly star). Then there are several short stories spri...more
Corey
David Foster Wallace was a great writer. No two ways about that, it is so evident in his prose and in his stories that it does make you a little bit sad inside to know that you will never get the opportunity to meet this man. Yes, sometimes he gets a bit pretentious and self-important by hitting you over the head with the fact of his great-writer-ness. At some points the writing gets so esoteric and overly metaphorical that it ceases to make human sense or becomes extremely difficult to follow (...more
Nate D
There are several different, idiosyncratic kinds of things going on in Brief Interviews. Your bread and butter here are the (1) piercing views of interior monologue. Wallace has an unusual facility with voice and he puts to use here, as characters self-dissect and recriminate and justify in bottomless hall-of-mirrors sequences of self-reflection. These horror stories for the uncertain, for those who overthink. For those with anxiety that their proper outward actions might be self-satisfied, and...more
Andrew
"Soon, perhaps, respected & glossy high-art organs might even start inviting smartass little ironists to contemporize & miscegenate BC mythos; & all this pop irony would put a happy-face mask on a nation's terrible shamefaced hunger & need; translation, genuine information, would be allowed to lie, hidden & nourishing inside the wooden belly of parodic camp."

What else more is there to say about David Foster Wallace? This is Jelly Belly literature, and you just keep stuffing t...more
Catie
There were moments of absolute brilliance (Forever Overhead was my favorite). There were also moments when I would have done anything to get him to stop talking. And he does this completely ingenious thing where, by omitting the interview questions, he essentially turns you (the reader) into the interviewer. The questions are so obvious in relation to the answers that I found myself mentally supplying them during the pauses, which made me feel like I was trapped into participating in conversatio...more
Tracy Reilly
I have to admit. I, on a whim, just googled "David Foster Wallace" and "autism", just to see if anyone else ever thought what I'm thinking. I hadn't researched or known a thing about him otherwise, other than his suicide.

I did find something. Lots of things, plus speeches, interviews, etc. Some reinforced the idea, some did not.

One thing for sure, the autism thing can't possibly sum up everything that is interesting about David Foster Wallace and his writings, or what I know of them so far. And,...more
Emanuela
Sono più schifosi gli uomini che fanno outing nevrotico/psicotico scavando dentro di sè e giustificando i propri comportamenti o chi, invece, è impermeabile e refrattario, tutto ciò non gli appartiene e nemmeno lo sfiora?
Wallace non discrimina, semplicemente racconta quanto siamo "schifosi" o potremmo essere "schifosi"; complice il contesto.
Uno degli "stili" usati ricorda la ripetitività dei soggetti in campo, ossessiva come per le opere di Andy Wharol, più simile all'immagine della sedia elett...more
Michael
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anita Dalton
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 bes...more
mark monday
a great introduction to the author, particularly for those readers who quiver in fear at the idea of Infinite Jest and A Supposedly Fun Thing. the language is unsurprisingly brilliant, the ideas at times playful and at other times fairly heavy, and the various portraits fascinating and often repulsive. wonderfully repulsive! men who engage in misandry are often interestingly self-flagellating yet defensive, and wallace is no exception. perhaps the only drawbacks are some forced jokiness and the...more
Paddythemic
DEATH IS NOT THE END & FOREVER OVERHEAD molecular, slow motion prose. amazing. doesn't feel much like "reading" per se, as much as donning DFW virtual reality goggles and experiencing what he's perceiving. I haven't felt that with delillo or even nabokov yet. I really appreciate this writer. wow.

THE DEPRESSED PERSON - "[she] now urged her terminally ill friend to go on, to not hold back, to let her have it: what words and terms might be applied to describe such a solipsistic, self consumed,...more
The Awdude
This is DFW's funniest collection, also his most experimental. The range and variety of humor in these stories is astounding, schizophrenically comprehensive, and at its best laugh out loud hilarious. The same could be said about his multifaceted experimentation; he pretty much empties out the tool kit and uses everything he's got. It takes some (a lot) of patience on the reader's part, especially for stories like "Octet" and "Church Not Made with Hands," the latter of which is my least favorite...more
Mark
Of DFW's three short story collections, this is the one I enjoy the least. It's certainly his most thematically coherent collection, but perhaps that's part of my problem with it. Though the stories are almost unbelievably well-written and ingenious (this is DFW, after all), many of them either have this aura of impersonality about them or (in the case of the monologues, of which there are many) they are so insularly personal as to feel claustrophobic.

"The Depressed Person," for instance, suffe...more
Eleanor
Jul 06, 2007 Eleanor rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men who aren't feminists
I think I seriously offended a friend when I told him that this book made me want, at times, to hurl it across the room. That I never did tells you something. David Foster Wallace is clearly an arrogant, egotistical prick -- I'm sure if I met him I'd detest him, find his "I'm smarter than you" demeanor even slimier in person than in print.

Still, he is clearly a gifted writer, and when he lets his bag of tricks (many of which I find offensive) drop away what remains is brilliant, clean, elegant...more
David
Although I put myself forward to the indifferent world as a mature man of intellect, I have the usual selection of shortcomings, among which are a basically childlike (NOT in the flattering sense of the term) lack of self-control, which manifests itself as the desire (for example) to immediately consume a second ice-cream, or beer, directly after the first ice-cream, or beer, and the same with the third after the first two. I seem cheerfully impervious to the often-experienced lesson that, in th...more
Sentimental Surrealist
David Foster Wallace may be my favorite author, but I have to admit he had his shortcomings: uneven short fiction. He never wrote a collection of short stories that has affected me on the same level as Infinite Jest or Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, although this one is his strongest to date. His main problem was that a few of his stories seem more exercises in cleverness than anything else: here, we have the infamous "Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko," an ill-advised attempt to give...more
Ry
DFW's book of short stories are seemingly simultaneously devoted to reinventing the form of the short story as we know it and upholding the virtues of great literature that have been valued for so long.

If I could use one word to describe this whole collection, the word I would use would be, "honest." Because that's what this book is. Pure honesty. The ways in which Wallace captures the voices of the characters, the way he evokes the manners of speech of current-day citizens, the keen eye he has...more
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Infinite Jest – D...: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men 19 34 Apr 03, 2013 01:30PM  
Reading lists from classes taught by famous authors 2 53 Feb 28, 2013 04:33PM  
  • Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
  • Conversations with David Foster Wallace
  • Lost in the Funhouse
  • Forty Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • Hot Pink
  • Stories in the Worst Way
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • In Persuasion Nation
  • Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace
  • Understanding David Foster Wallace
  • The Age of Wire and String
  • Elegant Complexity: A Study of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
  • The Better of McSweeney's, Vol. 1
  • The Rainbow Stories
  • Slow Learner: Early Stories
  • Break it Down
  • The Angel Esmeralda
4339
David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it fe...more
More about David Foster Wallace...
Infinite Jest Consider the Lobster and Other Essays A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:  Essays and Arguments This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life The Broom of the System

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“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” 191 likes
“And I was -- this is just how I was afraid you'd take it. I knew it, that you'd think this means you were right to be afraid all the time and never feel secure or trust me. I knew it'd be 'See, you're leaving after all when you promised you wouldn't.' I knew it but I'm trying to explain anyway, okay? And I know you probably won't understand this either, but --wait-- just try to listen and maybe absorb this, okay? Ready? Me leaving is not the confirmation of all your fears about me. It is not. It's because of them. Okay? Can you see that? It's your fear I can't take. It's your distrust and fear I've been trying to fight. And I can't anymore. I'm out of gas on it. If I loved you even a little less maybe I could take it. But this is killing me, this constant feeling that I am always scaring you and never making you feel secure. Can you see that?” 87 likes
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