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Showing 1-10 of 51 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 147 reviews
on March 26, 2017
I quit "Infinite Jest" after 150 pages crammed with footnotes. I quit this one 42% of the way out and in the middle of a rambling confession and analysis of the way it was written. The pieces turn around on themselves without end, live in abstractions of what ifs, and rarely reach concretion. After a while, one starts flipping pages just to get through the Q mode and blank "pop quizzes." Not impressed.
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on September 27, 2016
This book's title pretty much describes the contents. While the subject matter dismays, the writing is excellent. I would recommend this to anyone with enough intestinal fortitude to handle the subject material.
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on March 22, 2011
This was the second of David Foster Wallace's books that I've read, after Infinite Jest. This is certainly a more accessible tome in comparison, but maintain's Wallace's unique perspective. Much like the man himself, this book is often very funny, and sometimes very sad, but always comes from a perspective of seeking out the humanity in characters where it's not always obvious.

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.
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on October 24, 2015
Wallace was a genius. This is a funny collection. His best works, for me, are his essays: Consider the Lobster and Other Essays,A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments. Of course, at some point, you have to read his magnum opus: Infinite Jest.
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on February 11, 2017
Read this book. Wallace amazes and inspires on every page while winding your brain through philosophic questions that you have knowingly avoided until now. You won't exactly be happy at the end, but you'll be happy you read the book.
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on May 12, 2017
I absolutely love this book. Its a great read. High recommend!!!
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on July 9, 2016
Not a light, entertaining read for me. 5 stars due to DFW's astoundingly creative style. It is a rare experience to marvel at the situations and characters he creates out of thin air. Bref, it's for those who appreciate massive talent and creativity as things.
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on September 18, 2013
My intro to Wallace came through Harpers Magazine if I remember correctly. I should have expected the rather longer set of "interviews" that I got, and this was really not my issue, or at least, they were OK that they were not so brief, but I just wished there had been more of them; a broader slice of hideousness, I guess.
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.
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on July 3, 2013
Although this book is a collection of short stories, it's emotional impact is not contained by its size. What is trly important about this work by the late David Foster Wallace is what it gives you to chew on. I have regurgitated many sections of the book, and even used its lessons - which are not taught didactically - in my own life. Strangely, a book on Hideous Men, could improve your sex life.
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on July 9, 2016
I can't get enough of DFW non-fiction work. It is fascinating and engrossing - he's able to bring readers in to his curiosities, his ruminations, and inner thoughts and richly detailed experiences - all of it infectious.

His fiction however, obviously written by a brilliant mind, remains difficult to enjoy. It feels like homework. Much of the pieces here use structural devices and feel little more than exercises within them.

The "pop quiz" piece stands out to me as an embodiment of both what I love about DFW and found difficult here - as it starts out as a structural exercise and then the writer over takes the work by admitting he was doing exactly that and was unsure it was working or worth it. I ended up having similar thoughts about some of the other pieces throughout the book.
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