* Disclaimer of Transparency: The copy of the audio book I reviewed (Eugene Public Library’s) had noticeable scratches at the end of disc 3 *
Men are bastards. It’s odd for a man to say that (much less two), but as autonomous sentient beings that carry a Y chromosome in their genetic material and are raised in blue outfits instead of pink ones; we are still capable of identifying the trait of bastardness that exists and noticing/admitting that it has an undeniably distinctive male quality to it. David Foster Wallace is interested in exploring why and how men can act like such bastards in certain situations.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a collection of short stories that are mostly written in a question and answer format. The topics covered include a wide range of topics that vary, from the total spectrum of feelings that a 13-year-old boy might feel when he high dives into a pool on his birthday to exploring the margins of thought we associate with being a victim.
Parts of the book have awkward moments of dark humor (reluctantly I’ll admit to laughing out loud), like when a man with a Russian accent describes how his juvenile sexual fantasies were ruined by his inability to control the space-time continuum that existed within those fantasies, but Wallace is at his most poignant when he forces the listener to examine the darker aspects of men justifying and explaining their complex relationships with women. (more…)