Review: ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men’

Review of ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men’ by David Foster Wallace, adapted for the stage.

The Oxford Culture Review

In 1997, David Foster Wallace wrote a scathingly piercing review of John Updike’s Midpoint for The New York Observer. Entitled, in characteristically unapologetic style, ‘John Updike, Champion Literary Phallocrat, Drops One; Is This Finally the End for Magnificent Narcissists?’, Wallace attacked the “Great Male Narcissists” of post-war fiction. The characters written into existence by Updike, Mailer, and Roth, he argued, are ‘always incorrigibly narcissistic, philandering, self-contemptuous, self-pitying and deeply alone, alone the way only a solipsist can be alone. They never belong to any sort of larger unit or community or cause. Though usually family men, they never really love anybody — and, though always heterosexual to the point of satyriasis, they especially don’t love women. The very world around them … seems to exist for them only insofar as it evokes impressions and associations and emotions inside the self.’

There could not be a better description of the characters…

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