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A Handbook for Drowning: Stories
by David Shields (Goodreads Author)
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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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
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.
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.
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 ...moreMore about David Shields...
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“No one was dancing, least of all us, because I don't dance in public. My body's a private thing; it doesn't belong to the world at large.”
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