Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Girl with Curious Hair

Girl with Curious Hair

by David Foster Wallace
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Remarkable, hilarious and unsettling re-imaginations of reality by "a dynamic writer of extraordinary talent " (Jennifer Levin, New York Times Book Review).

Girl with Curious Hair is replete with David Foster Wallace's remarkable and unsettling reimaginations of reality. From the eerily "real," almost holographic evocations of historical figures like Lyndon Johnson and overtelevised game-show hosts and late-night comedians to the title story, where terminal punk nihilism meets Young Republicanism, Wallace renders the incredible comprehensible, the bizarre normal, the absurd hilarious, the familiar strange.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393313963
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/17/1996
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 340,321
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Foster Wallace (1962—2008) is the author of Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, Everything and More, The Broom of the System, and other fiction and nonfiction. Among his honors, he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award.

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1962

Date of Death:

September 12, 2008

Place of Birth:

Ithaca, NY

Place of Death:

Claremont, CA


B.A. in English & Philosophy, Amherst College, 1985;MFA, University of Arizona, 1987

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Girl with Curious Hair 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
ral12345 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An incredibly important early work from David Foster Wallace, one part entertaining story collection, one part treatise on fiction. For any serious reader of Wallace, especially those wishing to tackle 'Infinite Jest', this collection is a necessity. One of the more challenging pieces, "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way" is a direct shot across the bow of the metafictionists of the 1960s and 1970s, which Wallace attempts to move beyond, and seemingly with great success.
SaintBrevity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's David Foster Wallace; you either get him or you don't, I think.This is a collection of short stories, all in the inimitable DFW style, which just drips with the knowledge that this is Literature with an L so big that it makes godzilla slink away in shame. The stories are self indulgent, verbose to the point of choking themselves, and circuitous, and I can't read more than two or three a day or my own writing starts becoming a poor imitation.Needless to say, I think I love them, but I'm never quite sure what I think of that.
shawnd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the author of the more notable Infinite Jest and Broom of the System, this is one of his earlier works, a collection of short stories. This was published in 1989, and I suspect many of these were written before Broom of the System--some have the feel of REM's Dead Letter Office kind of thing: that perhaps some of these were written initially during freelance days or during a stint as an MFA student or in a writing workshop. However, the positive side of this is that since these were written earlier on, there is significant professional editing happening as oversight to the author's work. Rejoice! I believe later we all suffer that this truly gifted author has somehow leveraged art hysteria about himself to absolve his work from any significant editing, which can leave us with a 1,000 page nanoscopic eruption about over-drugged kids in a tennis camp (Infinite Jest). Exaggeration aside, the beauty of Wallace's writing is here in this book without the footnotes, pretension, and long-windedness.In Girl with Curious Hair, there are ten stories, and they're truly a mixed bag. In "Luckily the Account Representative Knew CPR" a tight, deadpan, nifty little tale which leaves no aftertaste. Very different from the somewhat political, dark, sonorous "Lyndon" which posits a steamy, insider's glance at the LBJ meta-inner White House crowd. Some, like "John Billy" are better left unread, and the last and longest story which starts out in a Writing Seminar attended by aspiring novelists seems too unrealistic right from the start to take hold. The eponymous story "Girl with Curious Hair" has so much potential, and a Bret Easton Ellis meets Salinger energy, and really no where to go: it exists in it's small pond but if this were exported to an ocean (a novel) or a river (a screenplay), some larger plot would perhaps ruin it. Although there are sparks of brilliance, there is a lot of glop in here which makes this more like a treasure hunt than a good back to front read for anyone other than devotees of David Foster Wallace.
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Ms Eberhardt's stories tended "not to work for him" because of what he called a certain "Look-Mom-no-hands quality" that ran through her work.'The above is a line pulled from this collection's final story, Westward The Course of Empire Takes Its Way, but it sums up a lot of my feelings about this book. Basically there are a couple of good stories here but the rest of the collection feels like DFW trying too hard to show just how young and talented he was. There's an impressive array of styles on show here, certainly; but for the most part there's also a distinct lack of heart in these stories. They feel far too much like exercises in technical expertise. It makes for a rather soulless collection despite the moments when Wallace's compassion breaks through the artifice.It's a disappointment that after the very good Broom of the System these other early works by DFW are such a let down and very little of an indicator of the heights he would reach.
lssian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Totally original, fun, and well written. I can't wait to read it again.
chadmarsh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Favorite Stories - "Little Expressionless Animals," "Girl with Curious Hair," "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way"
gazzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Technically an excellent writer, but in this collection of short stories he reveals little heart.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I prefer Wallace's short stories to his longer fiction, and this is probably my favorite collection of his work. Check out "Lyndon," "Little Expressionless Animals," and "Everything Is Green."
cpauthor More than 1 year ago
When most people feel they're up to the task of reading David Foster Wallace, they tend to gravitate towards Infinite Jest, attracted in part by the huge mass. This, an earlier book by him, is a much better intro to the man's work, and a great book in its own right. Apart from Donald Barthelme, Wallace has written here the most peculiar, audacious, and funny book of contemporary times. When I wrote my book, I thought back lovingly of Girl With Curious Hair. The author is one of my idols and is sorely missed.
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Ladshomes More than 1 year ago
Scholars count David Foster Wallace (poss best known for Infinite Jest) among POMO icons, but most of the stories are more enjoyable than some POMO. I didn't like the title story, but many are poignant or insightful with cultural references that layer but aren't necessary to the read. There are even some "laugh out loud" moments throughout. His characters are people you know or know of, his voices seem spot-on, his settings are alternately bizarre or ordinary. One of my fav quotes: "one kind of response to Otherness. Say the whole point of love is to try to get your fingers through the holes in the lover's mask. To get some kind of hold on the mask, and who cares how you do it" (32). Try him out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is supposed to be the work of a genius? When it wasn't pretentious, it was boring. When it wasn't boring it was neurotic. The last story was particularly awful. Worst of all, nothing left a lasting impression. Definitely not DFW's best work. I'd even say his estate shouldn't have let this be published.