Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
By (author) David Foster Wallace
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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
Book DescriptionIn his startling and singular new short story collection, David Foster Wallace nudges at the boundaries of fiction with inimitable wit and seductive intelligence. Among the stories are 'The Depressed Person', a dazzling and blackly humorous portrayal of a woman's mental state; 'Adult World', which reveals a woman's agonised consideration of her confusing sexual relationship with her husband; and 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men', a dark, hilarious series of portraits of men whose fear of women renders them grotesque. Wallace's stories present a world where the bizarre and the banal are interwoven and where hideous men appear in many different guises. Thought-provoking and playful, this collection confirms David Foster Wallace as one of the most imaginative young writers around. Wallace delights in leftfield observation, mining the ironic, the surprising and the illuminating from every situation. His new collection will delight his growing number of fans, and provide a perfect introduction for new readers.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780349111889
(198mm x 137mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 18-Jan-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
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UK Kirkus Review » Lucid, learned and left field, these stories from the author of the exhaustingly entertaining Infinite Jest owe a debt to Gaddis, Barth and, most obviously Pynchon. You could be forgiven for thinking that Wallace is in thrall to the idea of novelty for novelty's sake. Here, for example is the first story in the collection, A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life, in its 79-word entirety: 'When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces. The man who'd introduced them didn't much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.' But delve deeper and you discover that Wallace is a firm enemy of trendiness. He satirises the quest for the dernier cri even as he epitomises the trend. Sprinkled through this volume are three stories with the title Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders. The entries given here are numbered 11, six and 24. Four stories share the title of the book and appear to have been dredged at random from some obscure archive of recondite transcripts. The most enjoyable piece here is a screen adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Nibelungen Saga called Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko. Naturally it involves many footnotes. If Wallace is a product of academia's navel-gazing culture, he is also its severest critic. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » A stimulating, if intermittently opaque, collection of discursive stories and even less fully fictionalized humorous pieces from the savvy-surrealistic author of Infinite Jest (1996), etc. Though few of the tales here contain conventionally developed characters or narrative situations, most feature instantly recognizable generic figures. Embattled parents and siblings dominate such eerie concoctions as "Signifying Nothing," in which a primal scene perhaps expressing male dominance has a lasting effect on a son's relationship with his father; and a powerfully imaginative torrent of Oedipal rivalry spoken "On his Deathbed . . . [by] the Acclaimed New Young Off-Broadway Playwright's Father . . . ," "The Depressed Person" blandly skewers the culture of self-absorption and psychotherapy (while neatly mocking the latter's passion for clinical precision), and "Datum Centurio" gets impressive comic mileage out of its brief parody of an etymological dictionary entry. Sex rears its comely, come-hither head in the chronicling (in "Forever Overhead") of the perplexing sensations of adolescence in full eruption, and particularly in "Adult World," a deliriously expanding Robert Coover - like fantasy spun from a young wife's fretful confusion about pleasing-vs.-offending her docile husband. Most interesting are the title "stories," divided into four installments scattered throughout, and variously delineating men's alienation from, and misunderstanding of, women: the amputee who considers his mutilated arm a "Sexual Asset"; the self-consciousness of a hotel men's-room attendant (wreathed in "The ghastly metastasized odors of continental breakfasts and business dinners"); the loves of Tristan and Isolde and Narcissus and Echo reshaped for the cable-TV audience by network executive "Agon M. Nar." Postadolescent whimsy mingled with postmodernist horseplay: this isn't a book that can be consumed in sizable chunks. Still, Wallace is a witty guide to the fragmented, paranoid Way We Live Now, someone perhaps poised to become the 21st-century's Robert Benchley or James Thurber - both a frightening and a beguiling prospect. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace's fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Playboy, Harper's and Paris Review. He has received the Whiting Award, the Paris Review Prize for humour, the QPB Joe Savago New Voices Award and an O. Henry Award. He died in September 2008.
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