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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Paperback – April 1, 2000
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This is obviously a much different book than Infinite Jest, which was a sprawling novel of vast ambition. The short stories, or 'brief interviews,' will sometimes make you laugh out loud, sometimes blow you away, and sometimes leave you scratching your head and shrugging. And in that respect, the two books are very much the same.
Mind you all, I have not considered whether there is truly a variety of personalities greater than this offering. It's possible that the author deliberately narrowed down the types of despicability to the most basic that there could be, but then again, that really doesn't fit here. The bottom line was that if you like Wallace, you will like this book and even if you don't like it very much, you will more than likely read it through. If you haven't read Wallace, then don't use this review as a guide. Just know that if you like going all the way down a path and seeing the entire thing, even the ugly, the banal, and the boring; if you like a sense of your reading representing the way life sounds and feels to most of us most of the time, it's exactly what you want.