Hundeschlitten's Reviews > Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Reality Hunger by David Shields
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's review
Mar 04, 2010

it was ok

A collated series of musings and aphorisms, I think this tome was supposed to be some kind of shot across the bow to the literary establishment. It reminds me of "Thus Spake Zarathustra", but without the depth, the balls, or the vision. It it full of pronouncments that somehow manage to be both wrong-headed and bland. Shields is essentially speaking for the new literary guard here. None of his ideas are that original. They range from the unsubstantiated ("plagiarism is organically connected to creativity" - aphorism 102 for those of you keeping score at home) to the absurd ("the writer of the false memoir simply cares too much" - aphorism 97).

Shields' main point is that the traditional novel and the short story are dead literary forms, which is all fine and good. I also find most contemporary fiction to be wanting, and the novel does seem a little anachronistic. But what Shields advocates as a replacement is kind of lame, and much of the book is just a series of unsupported generalizations about the culture.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Hornik Aw man. You gave it to me... do I still have to read it?

Hundeschlitten Jeremy wrote: "Aw man. You gave it to me... do I still have to read it?"

Oops.... Maybe I should have kept this opinion to myself. In my defense, I read a review on Shields' book and was really excited to get it for you. In fact, I was so excited that I began gingerly reading your copy before I wrapped it.

Feel under no obligation on this one. I'll just note that it's a fairly easy read, and I wouldn't have given it to you if I didn't think you'd be interested in it. What really drove me crazy about Reality Hunger is that it seems to be what passes for deep thinking among the literati these days. As we both retain literary pretensions, I think it is good to know the lay of the land.

message 3: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Hornik OK, I'll take one for the literati.

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