Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
This book alternates interviews--in which only the interviewee's voice is heard--with formally innovative short stories and pseudo-essays. Dwelling on sex, obsession, and adolescence, Wallace charts paths through an etymological dictionary and the mind of a boy on a high-dive with equal enthusiasm. This book was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1999.
David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets hear. In this new collection, the author extends his range and craft in twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions. These stories venture inside minds and landscapes that are at once recognizable and utterly strange: a boy paralyzed by fear atop a high diving board ("Forever Overhead"), a poet lounging contented beside his pool ("Death Is Not the End"), a young couple experiencing sexual uncertainties ("Adult World"), a depressed woman soliciting comfort from her threadbare support network ("The Depressed Person," chosen for Prize Stories 1999: The O. Henry Awards). The series of stories from which the book takes its title is a tour de force sequence of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women. These portraits of men at their most self-justifying, loquacious, and benighted explore poignantly and hilariously the agonies of sexual connection.