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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Paperback – April 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The stories dealing with the self-absorption and egocentrism of our current therapy & self-help-filled age are both hilarious and frightening. In "The Depressed Person" a woman gets so wrapped up in her own depression that she actually looks at a friend's bout with cancer as a benefit, assuming that her friend, now free from the burdens of having to work, has little better to do with the last months of her life than listen to the sob stories of the title character. Another story concerns a woman so worried about her own sexual ability that she actually is relieved to find out her husband is a porn addict, thinking it means her own fears of sexual inadequacy are unfounded. Sometimes, though, the jokes die out long before the story ends. Towards the end of the book there is a story about a father filled with resentment towards his son, due to the fact that having the son around caused the father to have to share the attention and affection of his wife.Read more ›
One thing I've noticed has been missing from the reviews of this has been Wallace's simply awesome use of words. I love the way the words in the story fit exactly as they should, not to say that there aren't surprises and loops where I couldn't help but laugh at the audacity. But in the interviews themselves it's so easy to imagine a real person speaking what's written, the way they're interrupted and interrupt themselves. What's also impressive in the interviews is the lack of words from the interviewer, which I found forced me to concentrate more on the book, and gave me the fun exercise of thinking of the questions; and that only in the last shocking interview do we get anything of the interviewer's persona. And I suppose even Tri-Stan's wordplay was entertaining, although for me it was too long and rambling; Wallace's stories generally work best for me when they're more condensed. This is one book I can't wait to re-read.
I devoured "The Broom of the System", finding its characters, situations, and storytelling unique and enthralling. Although I was upset by it's ending (or lack thereof), I assumed it would be a good warm-up for "Infinite Jest". Wrong! So far, I've made two passes at that behemoth tome. The second time I even made it to page 200 before stopping in frustration. So when approaching "Brief Interviews", I was hoping for more "Broom" than "Jest". Wrong!
In reading "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" one notices the extent that Wallace fancies himself the ultimate postmodern author. If you were to describe to me the style he uses here, I'd have to say: "Wow, what a neat idea! Challenge and frustrate the reader with unreadable prose, paragraphs that go on for pages and pages without a break, and endless footnotes that go on in infinite detail about the same mundane topic discussed in the body of the text! Genius!"
That's all well and good in theory, but it's a bitch to read. In this book Wallace uses his vast vocabulary in such a way that you'd think it would disappear if not exercised constantly. He even goes so far as to make up new words to try out. In one piece here he twice uses the word 'weeest', not because it is a more precise adjective than 'wee' (as in "...hours of the morning") but because its three-consecutive E's make it look exotic. It's style winning out over substance. And those paragraphs! They're endless. Try holding your breath for five minutes, and you'll know what it's like wading through a DFW paragraph.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like him. Wish he didn't have the idea that suicide would help. Cause it surely did not. We could still be with him on the planet!Published 22 days ago by Carol Eugenia
If you like this type of book you'll find it easy to read and better suited to stop and start again than his other books.Published 1 month ago by Kim Eason
Some of this book contains brilliant DFW material, while other parts get bogged down in a sinkhole of experimental writing wherein he pushes the limits of the so-called... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kolef88
A brilliant and thoroughly engaging collection. I often find myself laughing out loud and he is never dull. His is a grievous loss.Published 3 months ago by Joan Torres
No issues whatsoever with service from seller....
The book , however, was awful, and I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy. Read more
It's either logorrhea or genius. Words dance on the page in convoluted figures. Convoluted, yes, but mathematically symmetric and precise. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sheng