Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” as Want to Read:
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  18,725 Ratings  ·  1,396 Reviews
In his startling and singular new short story collection, David Foster Wallace nudges at the boundaries of fiction with inimitable wit and seductive intelligence. Venturing inside minds and landscapes that are at once recognisable and utterly strange, these stories reaffirm Wallace's reputation as one of his generation's pre-eminent talents, expanding our ides and pleasure ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Abacus (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

David C. I just finished reading this book about three weeks ago, and read this entire story again to answer your question.

I'm of the opinion that the closing…more
I just finished reading this book about three weeks ago, and read this entire story again to answer your question.

I'm of the opinion that the closing 'hello' is a greeting, but not from the boy to what he is entering, but the opposite: a greeting from the world to the boy, ans in 'welcome.' The boy is changing into a man and the world is greeting him. I don't know if there is any way for you to capture this nuance with yet a third word, but even in English, it's something that has to be gathered from the context, so if you have to chose between the two my vote would be for the former.(less)
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
2,263 books — 1,672 voters
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
307 books — 469 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter: 4 stars  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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

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
Franco  Santos
Tiene relatos excelentes y otros que son mera tentativa posmodernista efectista. En general, me gustó, en especial La persona deprimida (brillante de principio a fin), El suicidio como una especie de regalo (oscuro y muy poderoso) y todas las Entrevistas breves con hombres repulsivos (exceptuando la última: soporífera).

Tengo que agregar que de esta novela es muy improbable salir sin haber aprendido algo nuevo, o al menos sin conocerse mejor a uno mismo. El intelecto de Wallace es palpable en cad
Feb 03, 2017 Alessio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ritenuta dall'autore stesso la sua opera più inquietante, Brevi interviste con uomini schifosi è lo squallido e atroce catalogo di una società malata e cinica, composta da uomini falliti e disperati, all'interno della quale «stupro e masturbazione si beffano dell'amore romantico, e gli affetti di famiglia sono messi a confronto coi danni che recano» (Fernanda Pivano).
David Foster Wallace tesse abilmente le fila dei venti racconti della raccolta, mescolando numerosi registri stilistici e sfiancan
Jun 11, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted this on 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
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
Dec 07, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
mark monday
Oct 21, 2010 mark monday rated it really liked it
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
Ubik 2.0
May 24, 2016 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-e-book
L’insostenibile schifezza dell’essere

Confrontata a “La ragazza coi capelli strani” questa selezione di racconti appare più compatta e omogenea sul tema di fondo, ma allo stesso tempo molto più frantumata e originale nella struttura narrativa che l’autore adotta, sia per costruire ogni singolo racconto sia per congegnare l’insieme della raccolta.

Ne risultano così “brani” o “frammenti” (più che racconti…) che creano folgoranti istantanee fin nel minimo dettaglio con minuziosa precisione entomologi
Tracy Reilly
Nov 19, 2013 Tracy Reilly rated it really liked it
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,
Oct 24, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
For years, I have been too intimidated to pick up anything by DFW. His reputation was too legendary. I'd heard horror stories about "Infinite Jest" and the sheer size of it was daunting. (That's what she said, but I digress) I finally found this on audio book, it seemed to be pretty short, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

(Hideous) Man am I glad I did! DFW walked the thin line between smart and satirical and pretentious oh so well. This book touches on some horrible truths about how men view wom
Oct 22, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
One story was recommended to me recently in a friend's list of best/favourite short stories. Finally got me started reading this which I'd bought in March 2011.

A Radically Condensed History of the World
I am undecided whether this piece simply isn't very good (one GR friend calls this collection uneven) or if it could do with half an hour of seminar time to tease out the relationship between the title and the two pages of story.

Death Is Not the End *****
Absolutely love this. Very, very funny. Li
Justin Evans
Jan 23, 2016 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My favorite DFW fiction so far, though that only includes IJ and Girl With Curious Hair. This collection has a much better balance between stories I just want to read, and stories I only want to write criticism about, and (best of all) stories that make me want to do both. GWCH had too many criticism-only pieces. IJ... I mean, the more I think about it, the more I think it's a tragic failure. Nothing wrong with that.

That said, there are some truly awful pieces here. I approve of experimentation

The penultimate chapter- the final interview- is one of the most powerful things I've ever read. Full stop.
Shreya Vajpei
Oct 09, 2016 Shreya Vajpei rated it really liked it
One interview would break you, the next one would crack you up. There's something everyone would relate to here.
Feb 10, 2017 Ta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeśli ktoś lubi zabawę formą i bardzo zakręcone historie, to ten zbiór opowiadań będzie jak znalazł. Tym bardziej, że tytułowi paskudni ludzie naprawdę są paskudni.
Nov 19, 2007 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
Well, if I take the last part of "my review / what I learned from this book" seriously, I'd need to say that I learned to not give away anything for free, but rather put an arbitrary price on the item if I wanted to actually get rid of said item. That's what I learned from The Devil is a Busy Man.

I learned that putting a "Q." without actually typing the questions and then only giving the reader the answer to said question is a pretty good gimmick. I learned that by reading several of the Brief
Dec 16, 2015 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non fate come me, centellinatelo.
Centellinate questo libro perchè solo così se ne può ammirare a pieno la costruzione, la scrittura, la struttura, la capacità di Wallace di raccontare i suoi personaggi facendoli parlare di se stessi.
Centellinatelo perchè se come me lo leggete in sessioni più lunghe non potrete non vederne le ripetizioni, le ossessioni, le continue riprese di argomenti che alla fine avvitano racconti e personaggi su loro stessi, senza che si veda possibilità di soluzione.
Jul 18, 2013 Elalma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordamericana
Sono raccontini brevi in cui le nevrosi dei personaggi sono narrate senza distanza né supponenza, ma con quella che chiamerei un'ironia partecipativa. Personaggi patetici, nell'accezione che DFW stesso dà a quest'aggettivo, lui direbbe patetici tra virgolette: patetico , cioè, è l'effetto di meccanismo autodifensivo che la persona depressa usa per proteggersi da possibili giudizi negativi . Più che patetici sono infelici, più che schifosi sono grotteschi. Una satira dell'infelicità, la definisce ...more
Stephanie Kelley
Jan 16, 2014 Stephanie Kelley rated it really liked it
Zadie Smith talked about this book at DFW's NYU memorial service in October 2009:

"'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men' was an ironic book about misogyny. Reading it was like being trapped in a room with ironic misogynists on speed, or something like that."


"To me, reading Brief Interviews wasn't at all like being trapped. It was like being in church. And the important word wasn't 'irony' but 'gift'. Dave was clever about gifts: our inability to give freely or accept what is freely given."

Goran Gluščić
Jun 18, 2016 Goran Gluščić rated it really liked it
Shelves: should-re-read
Dobre priče - su fantastične.

One slabije - su iritantne i pretenciozne.

Zbog ovih potonjih, koje su u manjini, ne dajem peticu ovoj zbirki, što je malo blesavo jer mi je usprkos njima ovo svejedno jedna od najdražih zbirki koje sam do sada pročitao.

Život bi mi bio jednostavniji da mogu ocjenjivati priču po priču. Ali to bi uzelo vremena pa možda i ne bi. Eh.
Nov 29, 2015 Arya19 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non ho la presunzione di dire di riuscire a capire questo autore, però mi piace sempre di piú!
Jun 25, 2009 Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of good contemporary literature
Recommended to Davis by: Brandon Daley
Shelves: philosophy, humorous
I wanted to love David Foster Wallace. I mean, I wanted to just totally hang off of every single word...and I did...for about half of the stories in 'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men'. Around 1/2 of the stories are utterly amazing. The prose is dense and luxurious, with a vocabulary that is surely unparalleled in contemporary literature. The opulent use of footnotes may annoy some, I actually found the effect they had to be quite humorous especially in 'The Depressed Person'. The tales which sh ...more
Adam Floridia
Apr 22, 2011 Adam Floridia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, I kept thinking how this book read as if it were a writer’s notebook—filled with sketches, story ideas, scenes, descriptions, even just notes. After all, the first “story” is a whopping four sentences (nevertheless, it captures the solipsism, insecurity, and isolation of postindustrial humans perfectly!). The next few short pieces really did seem like just exercises in description. What I learned from entries such as that is twofold: 1) DFW really is a master prose stylist (I’m talking ...more
David Alexander
Apr 09, 2013 David Alexander rated it really liked it
Brief Interviews w/ Hideous Men

"Wonder is not just the starting point of philosophy in the sense of the initium, of a prelude or preface. Wonder is the principium, the lasting source, the fons et origo, the immanent origin of philosophy. The philosopher does not cease 'wondering' at a certain point in his philosophizing - he does not cease to wonder unless, of course he ceases to philosophize in the truer sense of the word."
-Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, pg. 116.

I think David Fost
Matthew Balliro
Jun 01, 2009 Matthew Balliro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Sadly, this book marks the beginning of David Foster Wallace's late fiction. I say "sadly" because this should have really been the beginning of the end of his middle fiction, or something like that, but he'd only publish one more volume of fiction (more short stories) in his lifetime.

For some people, there might be too much metafiction and self-referentiality going on here. It may be too schematic for some, too structured. But really, how can you have DFW without structure? The format of the "i
Jen Serdetchnaia
Sep 09, 2016 Jen Serdetchnaia rated it really liked it
This is a book for the socially anxious, and for the human.

The central point is that people like people who like them and everyone is constantly thinking about whether people are liking them so if you want to be liked just show people you like them but if you try too hard to be liked people will notice you’re not focusing on liking them and won’t like you but if everyone is actually honest and just goes around asking people whether they like them all the time then the differentiating characteris
Mar 15, 2016 Hally rated it really liked it
What an intense experience. What a book. Too clever for its own good sometimes...the stories either sucked me in so far that I struggled to breathe, or, in one case, completely eluded me and had to be skipped altogether (hence I felt the need to drop one star, but maybe that wasn't necessary). Brief Interviews... is a piece of literature that defies categorisation. It includes two types of story; the straightforward and the completely deconstructive, exhaustive, unreliable. Some of the stories l ...more
Feb 12, 2017 Oryx rated it really liked it
Wallace's mantra, if you will, was that fiction had to be hard but also fun and rewarding; the reader had to enjoy it. .

I'm not sure what happened here.
I mean, yeah I've painted it almost completely gold there above but maybe that's out of loyalty more than anything else?

There are some strong stories, some very, very strong stories but then there are some absolute stinkers.

It's as if he's just ramming the same message down your throat with a very, very smelly mop, a mop constructed entirely ou
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Infinite Jest – D...: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men 19 54 Apr 03, 2013 01:30PM  
Reading lists from classes taught by famous authors 2 81 Feb 28, 2013 04:33PM  
  • Forty Stories
  • Lost in the Funhouse
  • Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
  • In Persuasion Nation
  • The Rainbow Stories
  • Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace
  • Hot Pink
  • The Angel Esmeralda
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • Break It Down
  • Agapē Agape
  • Going for a Beer
  • The Age of Wire and String
  • Elegant Complexity: A Study of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
  • Slow Learner: Early Stories
  • My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist
  • Stories in the Worst Way
  • Because They Wanted To
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...

Share This Book

“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” 316 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?” 135 likes
More quotes…