Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

3.87 (18,793 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


In his startling and singular new short story collection, David Foster Wallace nudges at the boundaries of fiction with inimitable wit and seductive intelligence. 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 agonised consideration of her confusing sexual relationship with her husband; and 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men', a dark, hilarious series of portraits of men whose fear of women renders them grotesque. Wallace's stories present a world where the bizarre and the banal are interwoven and where hideous men appear in many different guises. Thought-provoking and playful, this collection confirms David Foster Wallace as one of the most imaginative young writers around. Wallace delights in leftfield observation, mining the ironic, the surprising and the illuminating from every situation. His new collection will delight his growing number of fans, and provide a perfect introduction for new more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 124 x 196 x 20mm | 240.41g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Abacus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Repr.
  • 034911188X
  • 9780349111889
  • 84,546

Review Text

A stimulating, if intermittently opaque, collection of discursive stories and even less fully fictionalized humorous pieces from the savvy-surrealistic author of Infinite Jest (1996), etc. Though few of the tales here contain conventionally developed characters or narrative situations, most feature instantly recognizable generic figures. Embattled parents and siblings dominate such eerie concoctions as "Signifying Nothing," in which a primal scene perhaps expressing male dominance has a lasting effect on a son's relationship with his father; and a powerfully imaginative torrent of Oedipal rivalry spoken "On his Deathbed . . . [by] the Acclaimed New Young Off-Broadway Playwright's Father . . . ," "The Depressed Person" blandly skewers the culture of self-absorption and psychotherapy (while neatly mocking the latter's passion for clinical precision), and "Datum Centurio" gets impressive comic mileage out of its brief parody of an etymological dictionary entry. Sex rears its comely, come-hither head in the chronicling (in "Forever Overhead") of the perplexing sensations of adolescence in full eruption, and particularly in "Adult World," a deliriously expanding Robert Coover - like fantasy spun from a young wife's fretful confusion about pleasing-vs.-offending her docile husband. Most interesting are the title "stories," divided into four installments scattered throughout, and variously delineating men's alienation from, and misunderstanding of, women: the amputee who considers his mutilated arm a "Sexual Asset"; the self-consciousness of a hotel men's-room attendant (wreathed in "The ghastly metastasized odors of continental breakfasts and business dinners"); the loves of Tristan and Isolde and Narcissus and Echo reshaped for the cable-TV audience by network executive "Agon M. Nar." Postadolescent whimsy mingled with postmodernist horseplay: this isn't a book that can be consumed in sizable chunks. Still, Wallace is a witty guide to the fragmented, paranoid Way We Live Now, someone perhaps poised to become the 21st-century's Robert Benchley or James Thurber - both a frightening and a beguiling prospect. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

His skills as a literary innovator are immense...this is an entertaining and dazzlingly innovative work...a dizzying gallop actoss the wild frontier of contemporary fiction. DAILY TELEGRAPH Endlessly inventive EVENING STANDARD Exceptionally clever INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY As clever and intriguing as Wallace's past work...these strong, sad voices ring powerfully clear The Time Wallace's talent is such that you can't help wondering: how good can he get? Time Out Contains longish stretches of genius -- Geoff Nicholson Independentshow more

About David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace's fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Playboy, Harper's and Paris Review. He has received the Whiting Award, the Paris Review Prize for humour, the QPB Joe Savago New Voices Award and an O. Henry Award. He died in September more

Rating details

18,793 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 29% (5,458)
4 40% (7,535)
3 23% (4,243)
2 6% (1,153)
1 2% (404)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X