Girl with Curious Hair (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Among the young writers who made their debut in the mid- 198O’s, David Foster Wallace stands out as one of the most willing to take risks. He continues his experimentation in his second book, Girl with Curious Hair. The first story, “Little Expressionless Animals,” begins with two briefly related incidents: Two small children are abandoned at the side of a road, and a woman sitting with her daughter in a movie theater is silently molested by a man sitting behind her. The setting switches to an office of Merv Griffin Enterprises, a few minutes prior to the shooting of an episode of the television game show “Jeopardy.” Apparently one of the contestants has not shown up yet. Through flashbacks it is revealed that this contestant, Julie Smith, has reigned over 740 consecutive episodes of “Jeopardy.” Her knack for the game came from being locked up as a child with her autistic brother, her only amusements being to study LaPlace’s Data Guide and to teach her brother to read the same. As the “Jeopardy” queen she has become, in the words of Griffin’s spokesman, “the mystery of the game show incarnate.” Obviously she cannot reign forever, and Griffin wants to ensure that an equally compelling contestant takes her place. Thus, her brother has been brought out of his institution to Hollywood. Because her brother knows animal questions best—Julie’s only weak spot—and because the field of questions has been unfairly arranged to...
(The entire section is 2015 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
California. XIV, October, 1989, p.140.
Kirkus Reviews. LVII, June 15, 1989, p.874.
Library Journal. CXIV, August, 1989, p.166.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, November 5, 1989, p.31.
Publishers Weekly CCXXXVI, July 7, 1989, p.47.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, August 6, 1989, p.4
(The entire section is 36 words.)