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Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster…

Girl With Curious Hair (original 1988; edition 1996)

by David Foster Wallace

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1,625204,509 (3.73)28
Title:Girl With Curious Hair
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1996), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:bookclub; reading now

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Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace (1988)



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I did not fully understand almost all of this book (or, I sort-of understood most of this book.) If you're prepared for that, you may find this to be more than a three star book. My previous D.F. Wallace experience consists solely of "Consider the Lobster", which I greatly enjoyed.

Part of why I found this so hard to understand (and to enjoy) is that it really is a meta-meta-book, fiction-that-is-not-fiction-that-is. And I think Wallace was well aware of that; but it is hard to take, all the same. The book is rooted in, and a protest against/mocking of, a literary culture (or long fad?) that is now, at least in part, sailing into the past. And good riddance...

But, if you do enjoy postmodern (or is this post-post-modern) lit, then again, this might be more to your liking. ( )
  dcunning11235 | Oct 17, 2016 |
Excellent Short Stories. You won't be disappointed. "Late Night", the Dave Letterman appearance story, is the best of the bunch, IMHO; I still remember images from it: whiskey clouding when ice drops in, the tendril of cigarette smoke in cold chill of a Manhattan executive suite, Letterman's face. The ending is POW, very good. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
It's a formative work, pocked with moments of brilliance that haven't quite found the best way to orient themselves yet. Still, early-DFW beats the pants off of most late-whatevers. ( )
  gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
David Foster Wallace delivers some beautiful commentary on modern culture through fiction. While some readers may find these stories difficult to get through, it's worth the effort to follow the satire on both American culture (fast food, television, musical, political .. he covers them all in different stories) as well as literature. I admit that there were times I found the avant-garde writing style confusing or disorienting, but as I kept reading the seemingly disconnected fragments became meaningful. If you're looking for a quick fun-filled read, this is not the book. The stories are well constructed and will take some thought to fully unfold and understand, but that's what I like most about DFW's writing: it always stays with me when I close the book. ( )
  Neftzger | Oct 27, 2014 |
This book is very clever because every story is post-something. Little Expressionless Animals, Lydon, My Appearance- Post-Delillo. Luckily...- post Beckett. Girl with curious Hair- post-Easton Ellis. John Billy- post-Faulkner. Here and There- post writing workshop (okay, that's a stretch.) Say Never- post Roth. Everything is Green- I really don't know, but induction says that this, too, is post-something. And the mother of all the posts, 'Westward the Course of Empire,' is post-Barth (unfortunately John and not Karl.) Yes, all very clever. And sometimes moving. Here's how it works: each story pretends to be hip and ironic and post-modern, then whups you upside the head with deep, undeniable sentiment.

The problem with all this is that people who don't know DeLillo, Becket, Easton Ellis, Roth, Barth etc... won't get why they should care about the ironizing of irony bits that start each story, and are unlikely to feel the whup when they are whupped. I quite liked the book, but it's hard for me to say why anyone who isn't deeply interested in literary polemic would bother reading it. The prose styles are pretty good, and there's an impressive range of them, sure. As I may have mentioned, it's all very clever. It's the sort of thing that makes me want to write an essay. Before you go buy this because he's important and dead, ask yourself: am I the kind of person who often reads books and is inspired to write essays about them? Because if you're not, buy DFW's essays. They don't inspire me to write; they inspire me to read.

Also be aware that DFW himself said, re: Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way, "25 year olds should be denied access to pen and paper."

Also, I'm particularly cranky because I read Barth's story, 'Lost in the Funhouse,' to prepare for reading Westward. As bad as Westward is, it's the better of the two. No thanks for getting me to read that dreck, David, wherever you are. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
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A collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace that explore the different ways people live their lives.

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