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Girl with curious hair: Stories (Contemporary American fiction) Unknown Binding – 1988

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000719SNC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

More About the Author

David Foster Wallace wrote the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes the essay collections Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and the full-length work Everything and More. He died in 2008.

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IT'S 1976. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
All the stories in this collection were good, though of course some were more intricate or more fully wrought than others. "Kooky" might be a little minimizing. "Luckily the Account Representative Knew CPR" [I hope I got the title right -- I don't have the book here in front of me.] is easily one of the best stories I have ever read, period. As in OF ALL TIME. This collection hinted at the genius that would eventually write the incredible "Infinite Jest." Can't wait for more from DFWallace.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There will be many people who just don't get what David Foster Wallace is about, and I often think I am one of them. Depending what I am reading (Interviews With Hideous Men, Consider the Lobster, A supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Infinite Jest, yes I do totally get it; The Broom of the System, and this one, Girl With Curious Hair, which includes a novella called Westward The Course of Empire Takes Its Way, well - I am undecided that I even want to get it).

DFW is sometimes very hard work and even more difficult when the stories, as here, are hardwired into American culture. One, My Appearance, is all about a middling-famous actor going on a David Letterman show. Not having ever seen a Letterman show, I am only vaguely aware that the actor, having an ear-piece inserted in her ear so that her husband and his friend can help her make a good impression on the audience, is funny. Nevertheless, it seemed to me the lamest exercise in flabby satire. Sorry, but there is an enormous ocean between the BBC and American TV.

Another offering, Here and There, was a dialogue between a man and his girlfriend in which the man got to explain his ennui and nihilism and the girl got to talk about make-up and love. Though my heart wasn't in it, I found it restlessly, urgently, readable. The rest of the collection was equally patchy but did include a superb sub-Faulknerian pastiche and the marvellous Lyndon, about Lyndon B Johnson, Lady Bird and love. This hits all the right buttons and is surprisingly sympathetic.

Readers have to work hard with DFW, and the pay-off is sometimes bafflement, but often the shattering genius of the man gets through - and even in the least loveable of offerings, the light shines down on us heedless, struggling mortals.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. RUDI O'NEIL on 1 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you were to write a review of a piece of DFW's work then you'd try to emulate him in some way, the obvious one being an expatiatory sentence which uses metafiction, recondite language and parlour tricks such as hyphens colons and semi-colons, along with parenthetical clauses, within parenthetical clauses, to elongate itself in a manner whereby the reader doesn't really register it, the sentence, as a singular, such is the level of flow and rhythm; akin, according to academics (as opposed to me), to poetry. The title story is good, anyway, but if you dislike literary brat-pack figures whose platinum-spooned upbringings are central to everything they write about, and whose characters are empty (which they use as a clever way of trying to justify underdevelopment and inability (as if you can't develop a character to reveal there's nothing to develop (as if that isn't part of the challenge))), like Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis, then the title story becomes even more of a gas. The novella at the end, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, is worth leaving and forgetting about until you've read all of his other books and feel upset that there's nothing left, but then realise that there is.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Though the book does has occasional dead spots, the overall inventiveness and the ridiculously assured variety of voices DFW throws at the reader makes it a very worthwhile read, and usually a very fun one as well. It takes fiction places it hasn't often been dragged before.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story "Luckily the Accountant Representative knew CPR" struck me intensely; one of the best short stories I've ever read.
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