Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men cover.jpg
First Edition hardcover
AuthorDavid Foster Wallace
Cover artistJohn Fulbrook III
CountryUnited States
GenreShort story
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
Publication date
May 28, 1999
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages288 pp
813/.54 21
LC ClassPS3573.A425635 B65 1999

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a critically acclaimed short story collection by American writer David Foster Wallace, first published in 1999 by Little, Brown. The book has been adapted numerous times for stage and screen.

The 23 metafictional pieces in the collection are "difficult to categorise, roaming wilfully across the boundaries of genres and inventing new ones", which one story ("Octet") appears to "self-mockingly acknowledg[e]".[1] Four of the stories are entitled "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" and consist of numbered sections of varying length that are presented as transcripts of interviews with male subjects. The interviewer's questions are omitted from the transcripts, rendered merely as "Q". The collection is characterized by dark humor, alienation and irony.

As its title suggests, the book critiques aspects of modern masculinity and male chauvinism. "The 'hideous men' in Wallace's short stories are monstrous, parodic versions of Updikean characters, scrutinized with the eye of a pathologist ... Their sin is an implacable, and peculiarly American, strain of egoism."[2]

In 1997 Wallace was awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction by the editors of The Paris Review for "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men #6", which had appeared in the magazine and appears as "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men [#20]" in the collection.

Performances and adaptations[edit]

In August 2000, twelve of the "Interviews" were adapted into a stage play (Hideous Men) by Dylan McCullough, marking the first theatrical adaptation of any of Wallace's works. McCullough directed the premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival.

John Krasinski adapted and directed a 2009 film version of the "Brief Interviews" stories. Julianne Nicholson plays Sara Quinn, the interviewer unnamed in the stories.

Also in 2009, Hachette Audio released an unabridged audiobook production of the book read by an ensemble cast similar to that of Jon Krasinski's film, including Krasinski, Will Arnett, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Messina, Corey Stoll, Will Forte, and the author.[3]

In August 2012 British artists Andy Holden and David Raymond Conroy presented a stage adaptation of the book at the ICA, London,[4] which later toured to Arnolfini, Bristol.[5] The production adapted four of the interviews and one short story using a variety of multimedia techniques, and contained new music by the Grubby Mitts.

A stage production adapting 21 of the interviews and stories, entitled "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men", was directed by David McGuff for Yellow Lab Productions. The production ran three nights, August 28–30, 2014, at the Hill Country Arts Foundation's Point Theater on the Elizabeth Huth Coates indoor stage.

List of stories[edit]

  • "A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life"
  • "Death Is Not the End"
  • "Forever Overhead"
  • "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" [#14, #15, #11, #3, #30, #31, #36]
  • "Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XI)"
  • "The Depressed Person"
  • "The Devil Is a Busy Man"
  • "Think"
  • "Signifying Nothing"
  • "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" [#40, #42, #2, #48, #51, #19, #46]
  • "Datum Centurio"
  • "Octet"
  • "Adult World (I)"
  • "Adult World (II)"
  • "The Devil Is a Busy Man"
  • "Church Not Made with Hands"
  • "Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (VI)"
  • "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" [#59, #72, #28]
  • "Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko"
  • "On His Deathbed, Holding Your Hand, the Acclaimed New Young Off-Broadway Playwright's Father Begs a Boon"
  • "Suicide as a Sort of Present"
  • "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" [#20]
  • "Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (XXIV)"


  1. ^ Stephanie Merritt (28 January 2001). "The good, the bad... Review:Brief interviews with hideous men". Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  2. ^ Adam Goodheart (20 June 1999). "Review: Brief interviews with hideous men". New York Times. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ Brief interviews with hideous men. WorldCat. OCLC 318877943.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2015-01-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^

External links[edit]