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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Stories

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,340 Ratings  ·  1,209 Reviews
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 hila ...more
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Published September 24th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1999)
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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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant

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
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
Apr 06, 2007 sarah rated it liked it  ·  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
Oct 19, 2012 B0nnie rated it it was amazing
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
Hannah  Messler
Sep 03, 2009 Hannah Messler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 04, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, reviewed, 2014
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
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
MJ Nicholls
Jul 27, 2012 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Jul 30, 2008 Erikaaaa rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 06, 2013 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
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
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
Jan 11, 2010 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
Mar 23, 2009 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 08, 2013 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2013 Catie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013, audio
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
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
"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
Apr 25, 2012 Emanuela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
mark monday
Oct 21, 2010 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sal Jenko
Terminata la lettura di "Brevi interviste con uomini schifosi" ti senti un po' come quando ti risvegli da uno di quei sogni in cui cerchi di correre ma i Grandi Adduttori, i Sartori e i Vasti Laterali non rispondono allora guardi giù e ti accorgi di essere un topo della specie "Mus musculus" che corre nel labirinto neurale di David Foster Wallace mentre dietro di te fanno esplodere i ponti sinaptici finché non arriva lo chef Ferran Adrià che ti solleva per la coda, ti immerge nell'azoto liquido ...more
Tracy Reilly
Jan 12, 2014 Tracy Reilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
May 20, 2015 Morgannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This amazing work by DFW does indeed contain brief interviews but you don’t see the questions and you don’t know who is doing the interviewing or why. In might be best to think of this as a collection of short stories and there are some plain old stories in here.

Although the book is titled for the "brief interviews" the stand out story is ‘The Depressed Person’. This story absolutely amazed me, because it starts as a sympathetic portrait of someone struggling with the genuine misery of depressio
Aug 12, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
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
loaned this book to two people, maybe three.
first was the forensics coach, who was worried.

then some girl with curious hair

then to a dude i know who kept it for a really long time and when his wife returned it to me, unread, it smelled strongly of perfume. later still, neither of them would talk to me about it at all while that fucking gotye CD was playing too loud in their car.

they drove me home.
time passed.

I understood nothing
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
Feb 08, 2015 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's not that I didn't know that this was going to be difficult to read at times. I was warned several times, and I have swam these waters before. The Pale King was a very good book, but also off-putting and aggressively numbing. After finishing that book, and thinking on it for a bit, I really liked what he was saying, but there were times, while I was reading it, that I asked "is it worth this?". That's part of Wallace's endgame, really. Yes, he wrote for himself and his standards first, but.. ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Infinite Jest – D...: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men 19 47 Apr 03, 2013 01:30PM  
Reading lists from classes taught by famous authors 2 72 Feb 28, 2013 04:33PM  
  • Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
  • In Persuasion Nation
  • Sixty Stories
  • Hot Pink
  • Lost in the Funhouse
  • The Angel Esmeralda
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace
  • Partial List of People to Bleach
  • Slow Learner: Early Stories
  • The Rainbow Stories
  • Samuel Johnson Is Indignant
  • David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • The Collected Stories
  • Understanding David Foster Wallace
  • Jesus' Son
  • Venus Drive
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
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“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” 267 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?” 119 likes
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