Wednesday, April 19, 2017
David Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men": Audiobook Review
One blurb lauds the "hilarious" content herein. It's brief, compared to that bent on a harrowing evocation of the titular hideousness. On audio, there is talent applied diligently by a variety of youngish male actors. But this for four hours bogs down into a combination of raw (more ways than one) material for future dramatic monologues for auditions, and what feels, intentionally surely, the transcripts of a variety of depressed, bitter, lustful, wry, and/or erudite (as the author) case studies.
Halfway, #46 does reach an apex of ingenuity. The metaphorical and moral connections between Viktor Frankl's suffering endured that produced his Man's Search for Meaning and the assault perpetrated with a Jack Daniel's bottle on a teen victim ensure that no reader or listener will ever think of that Holocaust memoir-treatise the same from now on. Yet, as with the content overall, the ending's not surprising. These sound, as DFW intended I assume, as character studies of the dark side. But, as with a surfeit of crime fiction, true or imagined, the consumer may be weary too early.
There's an exhaustive determination to record betrayals, rapes, defecation, disgust, hatred, ennui, resentment, and doomed power-plays, and manipulation, in sex and other exchanges turned violent. It's surely what you see is what you get, but this is not a series of themes I care to return to. David Foster Wallace possesses insight, verisimilitude, and intelligence. But the degree to which he forces himself and then us to listen to these revelations batters you down. "His eyes were holes in the world" is how one woman sums up her attacker, tellingly for these blunt themes. (Amazon US 4-17-17)