William Thomas's Reviews > Girl With Curious Hair

Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace
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Sep 23, 2011

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Read in September, 2011

"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 mediocre of situations. He can create gravity where there is no mass. I don't know if this is just a trick of the light or the way he viewed existence, all of the smallness of life burdening our shoulders and weighing us down.

Here in this collection, half of the work is dated by his insistence in using 80's media figures and 60's political figures as main or secondary characters. The title story is bogged down by the use of a tone that sounds less like the 1980's and more like a faux-50's Ivy League college graduate telling his "chums" that they can have a "grand old time" kind of crap. I didn't keep count of the use of the word "felate" but it quickly became an annoyance.

Yet there were moments so bright and blinding in the first story, "Little Expressionless Animals" that I had to look past all of my other petty criticisms. This collection gets three stars for having some remarkable storis like "John Billy" and "Everything is Green" and "Say Never", and also because stories like "Lyndon" were an eye-rolling exercise in Gore Vidalian post-modernism.
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Reading Progress

09/24/2011 page 200
54.0% "Sometimes gorgeous and often insufferable."

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