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Girl With Curious Hair

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  8,081 ratings  ·  531 reviews
Girl with Curious Hair is replete with David Foster Wallace's remarkable and unsettling reimaginations of reality. From the eerily "real," almost holographic evocations of historical figures like Lyndon Johnson and overtelevised game-show hosts and late-night comedians to the title story, where terminal punk nihilism meets Young Republicanism, Wallace renders the incredibl ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published March 19th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 1st 1988)
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Infinite Jest by David Foster WallaceSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutGravity's Rainbow by Thomas PynchonWhite Noise by Don DeLilloIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Postmodern Genius
52nd out of 451 books — 404 voters
Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
145th out of 1,973 books — 1,510 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 08, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Great introduction to DFW
After finishing David Foster Wallace’s Girl With Curious Hair, I had to step back awhile before reviewing in fear I would simply come across as an overzealous cheerleader yelling ‘Give me a D!....Give me a F!...Give me a W!....’. Like a teenage romance, I was so blinded by my love for this collection and author that I wasn’t sure exactly what it was I loved so much, and if this brightly burning passion was distracting me from the flaws and faults that I wouldn’t realize were there until much lat ...more

I saw him many times around here, since I joined the GR Club. Sometimes having tete-a-tete with one of my friends and sometimes being the cynosure of some group discussions. I thought of approaching him on many occasions but I didn’t want to come up as somewhat forward and I wasn’t even sure if he was my TYPES. Then a new year party invite brought us face to face with each other.

David: Hi! How you doin?

Me: *thinking about what should be an appropriate reply in correct Engli
MJ Nicholls
My main response to reading Wallace is that I’m not clever enough to read Wallace. I go through long periods in his fiction not knowing what the hell is happening and what the narrator is narrating. My second response is that Wallace wrote fiction with a universal appeal, inscrutable at times, but with a heart and a mind built by NASA. Despite this, despite his intention to strike a basic human chord, his fiction is largely the domain of the hyper-literate, or folks like me, straining to be hype ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
(The following came up in the comment thread of my review of Oblivion: Stories.)

The more I think about it the more I would recommend that people new to DFW start with his first short stories collection Girl with Curious Hair. His first two books (the novel/his college thesis paper (!)) The Broom of the System and the recently aforementioned short stories collection probably have a lower net level of run-on sentences and a more "accessible" style on the whole.

Starting with Infinite Jest as I did

Expressionless Little Animals

"It's 1976. The sky is low and full of clouds. The gray clouds are bulbous and wrinkled and shiny. The sky looks cerebral. Under the sky is a field, in the wind. A pale highway runs beside the field. Lots of cars go by. One of the cars stops by the side of the highway. Two small children are brought out of the car by a young woman with a loose face. A man at the wheel of the car stares straight ahead. The children are silent and have very white skin. The woman carrie
Scribble Orca
Aug 22, 2013 Scribble Orca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: i don' wanna be a dfw verjun nemoh
Recommended to Scribble by: Garima
Guy With Furious Hair or ~ The Toga Party ~

Little of this life has been spent considering death.

Paternal grandparents never known died as words on the page of a letter received long after the event; maternal grandparents took their leave in hospital, Grandfather of emphysema when his grandchild was barely a teenager with no interest in a crabby and decaying invalid, Grandmother years later of organ failure and senility surrounded by those of the family that were bothered to make the trek to her
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I am a DFW completist. Recently I have been suffering an anxiety that I had in fact not completed his first book of short stories, Girl with Curious Hair. It was time to reread it and banish those anxieties. In fact, best of my memory, I had cut out several years back mid-stride of “Lyndon.” Never mind why. Who would want to ask? I had, with clear evidence of memory, read the entirety of “Westward” under a tree in my backyard, upon a blanket (mom-made; Raggedy Ann and Andy pattern which had once ...more
Difficult, brilliant, jarring, funny, ironically earnest and earnestly ironic with the limpidity of apostasy and the remote functionality of an egg-white toaster, I just wanted to grab myself by the front of my shirt and pull myself into this dizzyingly dexterous series of fictional contortions, wending through the labyrinth of self-aware, polymathic intelligence and meta-situations to find the author—standing apart from creations that the reader assists in imbuing with life with the melancholy ...more
Stephen M
Jan 21, 2013 Stephen M rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in a great authors' beginnings
Recommended to Stephen M by: Alex Ponzo
enyways=mah peeps sayin i red 2 much da dee eff dub but ah say tat i can neva red 2 much ah him and i can red whatevs u kow? example mah fav book [effinite gest:] ess dah best i wont red 5th times an i can neva red no buk afta an knot tink a hem, dee eff dub, an how much i luv him fur laiffe all da time u kow? example i will neva forget abut da gurrll wit tha hare an how much i luv da vice of dee eff dub an how he writs all laike mest up an weeeeeeurd but at da sam time kinda buitiful cause heh ...more
Arthur Graham
David Foster Wallace turns the short story upside down and inside out, making the adjectives 'inventive,' 'unique,' and 'original' seem blasé. — T.C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle turns the buddy blurb into an art form, making the adjectives 'hyperbolic,' 'obsequious,' and 'pompous ass' seem passé. Furthermore, dude looks like a Q-tip dipped in iodine. — Arthur Graham


I don't know what happened, but I'm pretty sure I was supposed to like this way more than I did.

While there were definitely some solid stories
Nicholaus Patnaude
I read this as an act of mourning for a writer I never understood. Nonetheless, his death shook me to the core for here was a man who had many things I've spent the last few years of my life desiring like an enthusiastic Bears fan. I'd attempted Infinite Jest earlier this year and had given up, feeling his verbal pyrotechnics would only end in nausea. Outpourings of grief on various web addresses painted an entirely new portrait of the man; one I had missed on my initial encounter with his work. ...more
Franco  Santos
Tiene relatos que parecen una completa burla de Foster Wallace al lector. Relatos que no parecen tener ningún sentido. Relatos agotadores que te hacen usar tu mayor fuerza de voluntad para terminarlos. Pero tiene otros alcanzan un punto de excelencia apoteósico. La última historia (que en realidad se podría llamar novela corta), Hacia el oeste, el avance del imperio continúa, es de lo mejor que he leído: quebró mi manera de ver el mundo de la Publicidad y el Yo solipsista. Foster Wallace me expu ...more
Edit again: So even though I haven't read all of DFW's work yet, I think this book would be a good place to start for someone who has read none. Originally I was telling people Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, but that's just because that's the first one I read and I loved it. This collection is... fucking brilliant. It's beyond my ability to really say more. I remember I was reading "Little Expresionless Animals" the day before DFW died, and I was like "oh my god I can't believe someone this ...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Creo que Goodreads debiera tener la opción de permitirte calificar una o dos veces al año uno o dos libros con más de 5 estrellas.

Este sería uno de mis libros con más de 5 estrellas.

Cada uno de los relatos es un bombazo.

El primero me recordó a un buen heredero literario de Salinger.

El segundo es de una tensión brutal.

El tercero (que da título al libro) precede magistralmente lo que de alguna manera desarrollará con gran tino Ellis en American Psycho.

El cuarto es de lo mejor que he leído en liter
Justin Evans
This book is very clever because every story is post-something. Little Expressionless Animals, Lydon, My Appearance- Post-Delillo. Luckily...- post Beckett. Girl with curious Hair- post-Easton Ellis. John Billy- post-Faulkner. Here and There- post writing workshop (okay, that's a stretch.) Say Never- post Roth. Everything is Green- I really don't know, but induction says that this, too, is post-something. And the mother of all the posts, 'Westward the Course of Empire,' is post-Barth (unfortunat ...more
Oct 06, 2008 Núria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: los que adoran el posmodernismo, los que odian el posmodernismo, los fans de la cultura popular,
Mi reseña propiamente dicha de 'La niña del pelo raro'

4 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 36

36 : 10 = 3,6

Ésta sería la fórmula que explicaría mi valoración de los relatos de 'La niña del pelo raro'. Por supuesto, esto no quiere decir absolutamente nada. Debí leer este libro por primera vez debe hacer unos cinco años. Desde entonces, aunque no lo parezca, debo haber cambiado. Aunque sólo sea porque ahora 'La niña del pelo raro' me ha gustado mucho más, supongo que porque he pillado muchas má
Gabi Dopazo
The first story, Little Expressionless Animals, the start of it… I mean, I normally chose books by reading the first paragraph(as I’m quite an ignorant and not cultured at all specially on foreign fiction, and by foreign I mean non-Spanish). But anyway, the girl and her brother are told to get out of the car in the middle of a highway, grab the post, see you later. That was something. But then it turns into something more. The lesbian story, the game show, the fact that the producer is now with ...more
You can't be cool unless you like David Foster Wallace. It's like a rule or something. You have to get it. You have to even refer to him by his initials: DFW. Like a password; so the other members of the cognescenti will know you are one of them, one of the cool ones. And, well, I would certainly like to be cool. So I gave this book a try. Actually, I gave the title story, Girl with the Curious Hair, four tries. I am sorry to admit that I am not cool.

Girl with the Curious Hair is about a doucheb
uneven is the word. also "too clever by half" is a few more words. I actually really liked most of the stories here, but the ones I didn't like (John Billy, Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way) were invariably the longer ones, so on a page by page basis I found it a bit whatever. there is a lot of metafiction stuff in this collection, which I am not so into. like, the longest story here (Westward...) is supposedly an extended satire of a postmodern short story by John Barth, Lost in the ...more
On Celebrity

What nearly the whole collection revolves around. The fetishizing and deifying of celebrity grows every year in America. It wasn’t new in the late 80s, it’s not yet cliché here in 2013. But it’s not just the John Lord’s we’re idly fascinated with. It’s the Jeopardy champions. It’s the local football stars whose lives are actually sad and desolate as the prairie that surrounds them. To be a celebrity is a perceived escape from loneliness.

On Loneliness

I haven’t made it through (I have
A collection of stories, which I regret finishing, as that leaves less of DFW's work unread, with only the brick-sized Infinite Jest looming at me. That will be It. But I will revisit these stories, and chat with him a little bit longer.

The stories are a bit hit-and-miss by DFW standards, which translates to the range of 'outstanding' to 'merely slightly-above-average' by regular writer standards. My personal favorites are 'Lyndon', and 'Everything is Green', and 'Westward..." is a fun ride for
DFW is amazing. Investing the time to read his work is well worth it.
Roderick Vincent
(4.5, but 5 for originality)

If I could have anyone in the world I'd like explain what 8 dimensions looks like, David Foster Wallis would have been the man. A Frank Zappa wordsmith, be prepared to eat the yellow snow. His stories are like Jackson Pollock drip paintings. You're either going to say, "Groovy" or you just won't get it. He's Doctor Jacoby from Twin Peaks with the one-eye orange, one-eye blue sunglasses and Hawaiian T-shirt clacking on aromatic astro turf donning out "shaka brah" wavel
The Awdude
So, I've been made fun of for getting excited about something or other and then running around proselytizing to people in the name of whatever that something or other happens to be this month, or whatever, but for now I'm just going to blame such skepticism and hostility toward excitement on our oh! so cold postmodern world in which we're afraid of expressing or hearing expressed anything "real" or "genuine," to paraphrase the thematic thrust of the stories in Girl with Curious Hair, about whose ...more
Michael Wais
"Fortunately the Account Executive Knew CPR" is a stellar example of stretching a scene so far that it can stand alone as a truly vivid short story. No dialogue whatsoever but the piece was fleshed out so well that I could smell the smells of the parking lot and even imagine the sounds of the account executive's cries for help near the end. I think this particular short story really stands out and shows the kind of visceral fiction that Wallace could really be capable of.

I thought that other tha
William Thomas
"An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." -Charles Bukowski

And that's why I find DFW so aggravating. He is both an intellectual and an artist, his prose meandering and wandering in and out of gorgeous simplicity to complex minutiae, reducing life's complexities to beautiful poetry and then inflating the smallest incidents into something hyper-inflated, engorged and bloated beyond necessity.

But he can brilliantly give weight to the most med
Don't hate on me...I know there are serious David Foster Wallace fans out there...I'm personally acquainted with a serious fan (she's a friend of mine who I happen to respect, especially when it comes to taste in books) who shakes her head when I tell her that I can barely tolerate David Foster Wallace...There's something too disgusting about this one...I'm in favor of authorial innovation, but I think Wallace's writing is just arrogant...He's passed off as a "writer's writer" but I refuse to bu ...more
Krok Zero
The big novella that takes up more than a third of this collection is DFW at his most annoyingly mannered. It's a grating, inscrutable mess that gives ammo to the DFW haters. A few of the shorter pieces, however, are excellent: "Little Expressionless Animals," "Girl With Curious Hair," and especially the beautiful "John Billy" make the case for DFW to be taken seriously as a short-fictionist (even if his allergy to resolution robs most of these stories of legit endings). I can't stress enough ho ...more
Le tre stelle sono per la forma: superba.
I contenuti mi hanno lasciato perplessa: nichilismo estremo, ovvero rappresentazione fotografica di certo genere d'umanità, ma siamo davvero tutti (potenzialmente) così?
Non credo.
E poi: non è stancante, ripetitivo e alla fine sterile riproporci ad libitum date genie, dati modi essendi? L'arte non è anche innovazione e superamento oltre che, talvolta, decostruzione? Una scrittura senza speranza è disutile, è superflua, è autoreferenziale, è morta(le).
Wallace mi piace sempre di più. Devo preoccuparmi?
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SFBC: DFW: "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way" 1 4 Jan 12, 2014 06:55PM  
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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...
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“Hell hath no fury like a coolly received postmodernist.” 36 likes
“Tell them there are no holes for your fingers in the masks of men. Tell them how could you ever even hope to love what you can't grab onto.” 34 likes
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