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A Handbook for Drowning: Stories
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A Handbook for Drowning: Stories

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In connected stories, Shields gives us a portrait of a young man growing up fixated on his parents' idealism and his own mortality. These stories go beyond easy expectations and reach for the reality of human experience in all its disorder and mystery.
Paperback, 177 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Harper Perennial (first published 1991)
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Jun 15, 2011 Christoph rated it liked it
So I heard about Shield's Reality Hunger from his interview on Colbert and while waiting around for a copy to fall into my lap, I happened on this little ditty. It is an easy read without much thought, but subtext is subtle so if you pick it up and read in a weekend, you might have missed too much. For instance, at first I didn't even make the connection this was an actual novel; I thought that it was a collection of short stories. And that is the flow of the book, a series of disjointed events ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Michele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I just did NOT see what other people saw in this book. I didn't see plot or resolution in any of the stories - I found them poorly written and completely forgettable. And as for the overarching theme of the stories together, well, there wasn't much there, either. There were recurring themes, the mother's cancer, drowning, the Rosenbergs, but nothing made sense in the book any more than anything else. Bizarre collection of stories. I thought it was terrible.
Miriam Fitting
Pretty yet gritty stories about sometimes narrator Walt in his awkward childhood and faintly sordid adulthood--his defeats, his loves, his painful epiphanies. An enjoyable read, makes me want to read more, and later work by Shields.
Jul 16, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, memoir
A master of creative non-fiction, these stories are brief, personal, and interesting. Made me want to check out Remote, which I hear is better.
Jul 09, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
my favorite by david shields so far--as an engaging read as opposed to an interesting conceptual project. fav in that category would be reality hunger. so far.
Sep 16, 2009 Robert rated it liked it
An interesting read on the story of man who attempts to balance his grief for his dying mother and the pmpersonal rationality he has been taught to practice.
Richard Jespers
Apr 09, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it
Great set of short stories, all with the same characters. Instead of being told chronologically, however, the stories appear in a nonlinear manner with various points of view employed.
Frances Chiem
Jan 26, 2014 Frances Chiem rated it liked it
Fairly derivative stories that show early ideas for Shield's future collage work but with none of the same energy as his nonfiction.
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Jul 31, 2013 Debra B. rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the way all of these stories included the members of one family. Well-written.
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David Shields is the author of fourteen books, including Reality Hunger (Knopf, 2010), which was named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications. GQ called it "the most provocative, brain-rewiring book of 2010"; the New York Times called it "a mind-bending manifesto." His previous book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (Knopf, 2008), was a New York Times bes ...more
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