Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Publisher's Summary. David Foster Wallace made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In his exuberantly acclaimed collection, BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN, he combined hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expand our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.
Review. David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a compilation of vignettes/interviews told entirely from the male point of view. And yes, these men are truly hideous! The cast of male narrators range from the garden variety exploitative womanizer/woman-hater, to the seriously deranged, to the truly frightening!
Each story/interview is compelling in the same way that rubberneckers are drawn to vehicular accidents: shock and horror are mixed with fascination. Women readers in particular will appreciate Wallace’s laser penetration into the dark recesses of men’s souls. One interviewee calls his deformed arm “the asset” because he uses it to manipulative women into sleeping with him. Another male narrator brags about sexually exploiting a hysterical jilted woman. Several stories are detailed rants from men who hate women.
While the interviewees/narrators are various degrees of repugnant the stories themselves, however, are exquisitely crafted with layers upon layers of details. For example, one story is a lengthy exposition on diving that is also about suicide. Wallace’s craftsmanship is truly impressive!
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a fascinating, albeit disturbing, examination of the dark side of the male psyche.
Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (September 8, 2009)
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.