Cover image for Brief interviews with hideous men
Brief interviews with hideous men
Wallace, David Foster.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
273 pages ; 25 cm
A radically condensed history of postindustrial life -- Death is not the end -- Forever overhead -- Brief interviews with hideous men -- Yet another example of the porousness of certain borders (XI) -- The depressed person -- The devil is a busy man -- Think -- Signifying nothing -- Brief interviews with hideous men -- Datum centurio -- Octet -- Adult world (I) -- Adult world (II) -- The devil is a busy man -- Church not made with hands -- Yet another example of the porousness of certain borders (VI) -- Brief interviews with hideous men -- Tri-Stan : I sold Sissee Nar to Ecko -- On his deathbed, holding your hand, the acclaimed new young off-Broadway playwright's father begs a boon -- Suicide as a sort of present -- Brief interviews with hideous men -- Yet another example of the porousness of certain borders (XXIV)
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In this thought-provoking and playful short story collection, David Foster Wallace nudges at the boundaries of fiction with inimitable wit and seductive intelligence.
Wallace's stories present a world where the bizarre and the banal are interwoven and where hideous men appear in many guises. 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 agonized consideration of her confusing sexual relationship with her husband; and 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,' a dark, hilarious series of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women.
Wallace delights in leftfield observation, mining the absurd, the surprising, and the illuminating from every situation. This collection will enthrall DFW fans, and provides a perfect introduction for new readers.

Author Notes

Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987).

Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jest (1996) which introduced a cast of characters that included recovering alcoholics, foreign statesmen, residents of a halfway house, and high-school tennis stars. He spent four years researching and writing this novel. His first collection of short stories was Girl with Curious Hair (1989). He also published a nonfiction work titled Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present. He committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46 after suffering with bouts of depression for 20 years.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The structure of the short story intrigues and piques Wallace, prompting him to subvert it. He imitates academic writing by attaching substantial footnotes to "The Depressed Person," thus creating a contrapuntal story within the story. "Datum Centurio" is a set of definitions of the word date, purportedly found in Leckie & Webster's Connotationally Gender-Specific Lexicon of Contemporary Usage, copyright 2076. The title story, appearing in four installments, consists of a string of monologues in which men talk about women. Sex in its more disturbing modes is the collection's underlying theme. A man listens intently as a woman describes being raped. Another man goes into explicit detail in his rant against men's sexual selfishness, and a woman worries that her husband doesn't enjoy their lovemaking. Like Stephen Dixon, Wallace is adept at generating streams of consciousness, rendering mental states in almost psychedelic detail. And he practices this art to perfection in "Forever Overhead," in which a 13-year-old boy is nearly overwhelmed by sensory overload while awaiting his turn at the high dive. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Stories, character sketches, monologs, and conversations selected from the late Wallace's ( exquisitely written 1999 collection are here read by a cast including the author and 14 actors featured in John Krasinski's 2009 film adaptation of the work. Many of the characters, such as the cad who dumps a woman he has lured across the country, are despicable; others-e.g., a gang-rape survivor, a men's room attendant-are captured by hideous circumstances. Language and situations are sometimes graphic. The performances, including that by the author, are exceptional. Recommended for literary fiction and creative writing collections. ["Fans of Thomas Pynchon and Donald Barthelme will find comparable challenges here," read the review of the Little, Brown hc, LJ 5/1/99.-Ed.]-Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Lifep. 0
Death Is Not the Endp. 1
Forever Overheadp. 4
Brief Interviews with Hideous Menp. 14
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XI)p. 29
The Depressed Personp. 31
The Devil Is a Busy Manp. 59
Thinkp. 61
Signifying Nothingp. 63
Brief Interviews with Hideous Menp. 69
Datum Centuriop. 106
Octetp. 111
Adult World (I)p. 137
Adult World (II)p. 156
The Devil Is a Busy Manp. 162
Church Not Made with Handsp. 165
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (VI)p. 180
Brief Interviews with Hideous Menp. 181
Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Eckop. 200
On His Deathbed, Holding Your Hand, the Acclaimed New Young Off-Broadway Playwright's Father Begs a Boonp. 218
Suicide as a Sort of Presentp. 241
Brief Interviews with Hideous Menp. 245
Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XXIV)p. 272