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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Abridged edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570427763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570427763
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,613,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

David Foster Wallace is one of those either-love-him-or-hate-him kind of writers, but most of the subjects in his collection are--as the title suggests--worthy of contempt. On this audiocassette, DFW, as he's known to his fans, reads a selection of his works from the book of the same name. The fictional "interviews" are brief forays into the minds of men via questions that are signaled with a verbal "Q," but never actually asked. While he reads those pieces in the voices of the interviewees, Wallace reads the rest of the collection--a handful of short stories--with the self-conscious lack of emotion commonly used by poets. Don't look for plot or action here; it's strictly character sketches with a good dose of verbal gymnastics. And don't expect to like most of the characters; it's clear the author doesn't either. (Running time: 3 hours, 2 cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs

From Publishers Weekly

Wallace, the young turk author whose ubernovel, Infinite Jest, was way too bulky for audio adaptation, throws himself gamely into the medium now, reading from his short fiction collection. In this audio debut, Wallace delivers his spry, satiric exercises in a sure-voiced, confident baritone. With the skill of a veteran narrator, he adeptly retains footing as he navigates his complex and wordy prose. His literary grab-bag trademarks include off-kilter descriptive passages, ponderous lists and footnotes, and a large portion of the tape is devoted to a one-sided interview with a psychotic sexual stalker. These odd tropes come across with humor, even tenderness, in Wallace's sensitive reading. He conveys the earnestness of a young, hardworking writer, eager to make his eccentric vision accessible through its spoken presentation. It's this sense of Wallace's strong desire to be appealing that will keep the listener with him throughout his sometimes difficult material. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Foster Wallace wrote the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes the essay collections Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and the full-length work Everything and More.  He died in 2008.

Customer Reviews

This is definately not a book that feminists will applaud; the men here are brazen, outspoken and often churlish.
Sandra Kirkland
The story told from the point of view of a bathroom attendee is erudite as only DFW could be, using language and perspective in unparalleled lucidity.
Threepwood
I found it hard to keep up because it was written like a thought and I find it quite difficult to read the way you think.
LAUREN HARRELL

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By The Gooch on December 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" is the sort of collection that comes out only after an author has already achieved a reasonable amount of fame and success. It is a book where an author who has received critical praise for previous works can sell a book primarily on the value of his name, not necessarily on the quality of its contents. This isn't meant to imply this book is of no value or is even a bad book. In this reader's opinion, a good 70% of the stories in this work are worthy of publication. It is the other 30% or so that I question whether or not would be deemed deserving of publication if they didn't have David Foster Wallace's name attributed to them as the author.
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.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Mogendorff on July 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and reward of Infinite Jest (it took a couple of months to get through, and the next book I read took around 2 days) as well as The Girl With Curious Hair, but never got to grips with A Supposedly Fun Thing, so I was uncertain about how much I would enjoy these Brief Interviews. However, almost all of these stories (the exception being Tri-Stan) had me rapt, they were so brilliant. True there is a lot of repetitiveness, only just on the right side of excessive, but in for instance The Depressed Person it served to heighten the endless reworking of the person's fears. Plus I knew this wasn't going to be an easy read, although I found it to be a breeze compared to Infinite Jest.
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.
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81 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stone on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
A "brief" history of my relationship with David Foster Wallace's oeuvre is necessary, before I discuss the book in question:
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.
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