A collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace
published in 1999. It veers from the kind of postmodernist self-referentially
that characterized Infinite Jest
taken to queasy (though presumably deliberate) extremes (cf. Octet
) to stories that provide the kind of close-up insights into the human condition that make reading the book
feel like rubber necking
at a road accident.
This is especially true of the eponymous title story (actually a series of four). Presented as a series of question and answer sessions, (though the questions themselves are absent), between an anonymous female interviewer and a succession men in various locations (classified by date and geographical location). What clues there are suggest some kind of researcher often in a bar setting (though one takes place in a correction and assessment facility), the interviews have a confessional tone. All, bar one,share the common theme of sex.
From the man who compulsively yells out 'Victory to Forces of Democratic Freedom' at the point of orgasm (but reveals himself in his refusal to accept that anyone could see beyond this, through the man with the withered arm, which he refers to as 'the asset' for its role in his picking up of women), to the last two in the series where something more like empathy covers a vicious misogyny.
Other stories of note include the Depressed Person, the series Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Boundaries and Adult World (I & II).