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I love David Foster Wallaces' work and was looking forward to a remake of this audible with so many great actors stepping in and performing some of the interviews. They leave out large sections of this book. I already heard the abridged edition of this that DFW did back when the book came out. I don't understand why this is labeled UNABRIDGED when it should be labeled ABRIDGED. That has been happening with all of his works. Why can't fans of DGW have all of his works available UNABRIDGED. I know the arguments regarding the footnotes, but DFW was able to employ them effectively with his reading of the Lobster essay.
With the talent that is available for these recordings, it would be fantastic to have Infinite Jest unabridged. That would resurrect that classic.
41 of 46 people found this review helpful
This interview is very much intended for people who've only ever picked up one or two books by David Foster Wallace, as I am in that same category.
It's a funny feeling - seeing a movie based on a book before actually reading the book. I definitely fall into the camp of movie goers that need to read the book before seeing the film, using my insider knowledge to compare and contrast the differences, seeing it as almost a guided insight into why the filmmakers made the choices that they did. And for the longest time I felt I was better off leaving my experience with this material at the movie theater.
I didn't bother with reading "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" because of everything I've heard of David Foster Wallace up until this point. Words like brilliant, introspective, and thought-provoking would get tossed around. Sure, it's all mounting evidence that points to the fact that I should be reading his stuff, but then other phrases like "not for everyone" and "you might not get it" would be added in for good measure. I'm not saying I hate to be challenged by a writer's material, but I'm going to need more to it's defense than "you just don't get IT". In these conversations, does anyone ever really know what IT is?
Happy to report, all my fears about tackling the deep introspection of David Foster Wallace's damaged characters was not an exercise in tedium. It was just the opposite.
I never intended on reading this book, even after my (apparently isolated) glowing reviewing of the John Krasinski movie of the same name. And then one day, randomly flipping through the dramatic fiction section on Audible, I came across the voice cast of the audiobook for "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men". Bobby Cannavale, Will Forte, Malcolm Goodwin, John Krasinski, Christopher Meloni, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, and Dennis O'Hare, with additional narration from the book's author. It was almost too good not to listen.
But I did, and I'm glad for it. First off, the material, whose complexity scared me away for so long, was anything but egotistical or out of the realm of understanding. What we have here are a series of shorts (vintages in the film adaption) that all share a unifying theme of sex, attraction, lust, envy, and the idea of selfishness disguised so ingenuously as selflessness. Characters big and small, confident and inadequate, old and young - they all share with each other or with themselves what it takes to grow up, the make it in a relationship, what sex means to them, what it means to their partners.
David Foster Wallace mixes and mingles between a million different perspectives and is somehow able to capture the emotions and motivations so accurately that it's scary. He hops from one story that so deftly describes the mind of an adolescent, experiencing the piercing thrust into adult hood via a wet dream, before changing course in another story about a full grown man explaining, quite convincingly, why it's selfish to refuse blowjobs. It's no joke, he captures, in my limited experience on the subject, every facet on sexual relationships.
I kind of want to read the book just to see how much of my interest was gauged on performance (it feels more like an audio performance rather than an audiobook if that makes any sense) and how much on the material itself, although I'd be surprised if the written material alone didn't give me the same reaction I had while listening to the audiobook.
Not to mention all of the other books in David Foster Wallace's bibliography I plan to read.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Where does Brief Interviews with Hideous Men rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Even though this is only highlights from the book, it is one of my favourite audiobooks and I come back to it over and over again.
What did you like best about this story?
I think the brief interviews (rather than the standalone stories) lend themselves best to the audiobook format and having different narrators perform (rather than just read) them works well.
What about the narrators’s performance did you like?
Lots of different narrators including the author. I like DFW's readings of his own work, but the last interview (#20) and Victory for the Forces of Democratic Freedom and The Asset stand out for me.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yup. Couldn't stop.
Any additional comments?
Just so you know: The narrators *aren't* saying 'cue' throughout the interviews, but Q. Throughout the text Q is used to denote an unknown question put by an unidentified interviewer.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This audio book omits large chunks of the book, and shouldn't be considered complete. It's good for the bits it includes.