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Girl With Curious Hair [Paperback]

David Foster Wallace
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1996 Norton Paperback Fiction
This collection could possibly represent the first flowering of post-postmoderism: visions of the world that re-imagine reality as more realistic than we can imagine. A compelling presence of a holograph and the up-to-the-second feeling of the most advanced art.

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Girl With Curious Hair + The Broom Of The System + A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments
Price For All Three: CDN$ 38.26

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Postmodern short stories from Wallace satirize the absurdities of contemporary pop culture.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In assessing this book, comparisons with Don DeLillo, Tom Robbins, and Robert Coover seem accurate, for Wallace is playful, idiomatically sharp, and intellectually engage. Overwhelming in his long, torrential sentences and his wit, he at times subjects us to overwritten, almost showy, passages, but his talent is undeniable. Included in this collection is a novella that examines, among other things, post-modernism. His (generally overlong) stories explore popular culture through the lives of a variety of characters: a lesbian with a three-year winning streak on Jeopardy, an actress anxious about appearing on David Letterman, a wealthy Republican yuppie who has a disturbing connection with some punk rockers; and Lyndon Johnson in a closeup that shows how well a historical figure can be used in fiction. Impressive in scope and savvy.
- Peter Bricklebank, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is funny, it's brilliant, it should... Nov. 12 2001
Ignoring all the fuzz about postmodern writing, I constantly found myself asking, what kind of impact did writers like Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo or William Gaddis might have had to other writers and, even more significant, what trace have they left in modern writing. In David Foster Wallace's collection of short stories, "Girl with curious hair", I found a large portion of my questions answered.
I've just finished it in almost one sitting, and like so often, when the book you've just finished didn't turned out to be total crap, you start missing its characters.
I miss Julie Smith from the "Jeopardy !" show, I wanna stick to "Sick Puppy" and his punky friends visiting a Keith Jarrett (!) concert. I feel sorry for old pal Chuck Nunn, jr., who, after a car accident, had his eyes constantly popping out their holes (!!). I deeply felt for the woman who "appeared in the David Letterman show", don't be nervous anymore ! And then finally there's David Boyd, first boy and close friend of the president of the United States, Lynton B.Johnson !
David Foster Wallace presents each of the five stories in a different tone, a different style: There's the more traditional narrative form in the first story, pure satire (with shades of Brett Easton Ellis's "American Psycho") in the second, and a haunting yet nightmarish and illogical atmosphere in the third one. The fourth story comes with a dry, almost documentary-like kind of prose, while the fifth and last story (the LBJ story) once again returns to more traditional grounds.
But don't worry: David Foster Wallace successfully manages to avoid pretentiousness or self-indulgence and never lets "Girl with curious hair" end up in a writing skill showcase !
This book is funny, it's brilliant, it should be regarded as a modern classic, but word comes around his other books are even better <...> oboy !
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3.0 out of 5 stars David Foster Wallace July 13 2004
David Foster Wallace is not the type of writer who writes for the mass-market reading public. That is by no means a bad thing. He is I guess what you would call a "writer's writer"; a writer that is fashionable to study in your graduate creative writing classes at Brown, but all in all is not really that fun to read. I've just finished (more or less) his inordinately self-indulgent compendium of postmodern stories (oblique references to our blooming age of popular culture) that is "Girl with Curious Hair." The collection has an auspicious beginning with a droll story of game show hosts and complicated lovers; then strays with the second story (about an Account Representative giving the Vice President of Overseas Production CPR--why do I care? Not enough to peruse it so as to grasp the implicit meaning). Then it gets back on track with the title story (one of the two good stories, not counting the first) where an unlikely friendship cultivates between the apotheosis of 1980s yuppiedom and a group of nihilistic punks, a real treat. The other good story in this collection is My Appearance, which delineates a middle-aged television star's foray into the realm of late nate television mania--a smart and critical insight into the state of cynism in America. That was about all this book did for me; definatley not warranting the purchase price. I occasionally found Wallace's writing style witty and biting, but ultimately too bombastic and showy--ornamental to the point of shameless grandiloquence. I haven't read his much hallowed brainchild "Infinite Jest," so David Foster Wallace hasn't rightly merited a particular partiality in me yet, but I'll try some more of his material before I completely give up on him. This book just did not work for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Mixed Bag Aug. 2 2002
I read Girl With Curious Hair after Infinite Jest, so I thought I had some idea of what to expect. The stories in this book are so different from one another, and from Jest, that I shall now review them separately.
Little Expressionless Animals-This story blended the absurd business of game shows perfectly with the absurd story of a savant lesbian and her autistic brother. This was probably my favorite story.
Luckily the Account Representative Knew CPR- This story was the very crisp. It is short, and it is still detailed, but it is not an extravaganza like the others. It is a good story, though, and very clever.
Girl With Curious Hair- This story is hilarious and very perverse. My brother says it is pro-Republicanism, but I do not believe him. It may be too perverted for many people.
Lyndon- This is a good example of DFW's ability to recreate actual famous people. It is also a comment on the different kinds of love people have. I don't think that I understood it.
John Billy- John Billy is an excellent example of DFW's style. It is a simple story about the hometown hero Chuck Nunn Jr, told in a complicatedly Kansan dialect and with a bizzarre twist at the end.
Here and There- This is a story that I enjoyed very much. It is a dialectic account of the failure of a genius to love. It has an anti-ending similar to Infinite Jest, though, which many find troublesome.
My Appearance- This may be the best story in the collection. It explores the conflicting themes of sincerity/naivite and irony/cynicism. It also stars David Letterman.
Say Never- This story was about a man who cheats on his wife and then with his brother's girlfriend, and then confesses. It is told from his p.o.v., the brother's, and their mother's friend Labov.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Foster: a craftsman of the human language
Unfortunately, there is a very real difference between those with a gift for manipulating the human language and good 'writers'. Continents of difference. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Brandon B. Alspaugh
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth My Appearance alone...
Why do so many reviews warn readers of the complexity of Infinte Jest? I found Infinite Jest to be a hundred times more readable than most of the stories in Girl with Curious Hair. Read more
Published on July 27 2002 by "erudite98505"
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Foster
An amazingly fast read for David Foster Wallace, this book's title story was my favorite. That is not to say, however, that the other stories were not worthy of their own unique... Read more
Published on April 26 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Some genius here
All the tales are more than OK here,
but two are really with the genius touch...
Published on April 12 2002 by Baruffaldi Andrea
3.0 out of 5 stars When he's on, he's on; when he's not, he's not
I have recently gotten into modern fiction, after years of reading Hemingway and others during his time and before. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2001 by Joe McClure
4.0 out of 5 stars A great breadth of brilliant writing
Wallace's breadth of effective writing is staggering. He paints from the endlessly complex to the economically subtle. Read more
Published on April 13 2001 by Aaron Reardon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars are not enough
I think this is a real genius.
The first tale about Lyndon Johnson is great, "Say Never" is a MASTERPIECE.
Published on Feb. 6 2001 by Andrea
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite collection of Wallace material.
I don't mean to toot my own horn here, but I feel that I'm a pretty well-read guy. I love David Foster Wallace. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2000 by Brooks Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a broad range here...
Wallace seems to be playing with all possible styles in this one; I get the distinct feeling talking with him would involve many sentence fragments punctuated by insane... Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2000 by Zentao
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mad Genius
David Foster Wallace is the most talented writer in America today; he posseses the rarist combination possible in writers: A deep yearning for the future of... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2000 by J. Anish
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