Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Front Cover
Hamish Hamilton, 2010 - Literary manifestos - 240 pages
17 Reviews
In Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, his landmark new book, David Shields argues that our culture is obsessed with 'reality' precisely because we experience hardly any. Most artistic movements are attempts to figure out a way to smuggle more of what the artist thinks is reality into the work of art. So, too, every artistic movement or moment needs a credo, from Horace's Ars Poetica to Lars von Trier's 'Vow of Chastity.' Shields has written the ars poetica for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists in a variety of forms and media who, living in an unbearably manufactured and artificial world, are striving to stay open to the possibility of randomness, accident, serendipity, spontaneity; actively courting reader/ listener/viewer participation, artistic risk, emotional urgency; breaking larger and larger chunks of 'reality' into their work; and, above all, seeking to erase any distinction between fiction and nonfiction. The questions Reality Hunger explores -- the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real -- play out constantly all around us. Think of the now endless controversy surrounding the provenance and authenticity of the 'real': A Million Little Pieces, the Obama 'Hope' poster, the sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, Robert Capa's 'The Falling Soldier' photograph, the boy who wasn't in the balloon. Reality Hunger is a rigorous and radical attempt to reframe how we think about 'truthiness,' literary license, quotation, appropriation. Drawing on myriad sources, Shields takes an audacious stance on issues that are being fought over now and will be fought over far into the future. People will either love or hate this book. Its converts will see it as a rallying cry; its detractors will view it as an occasion for defending the status quo. It is certain to be one of the most controversial and talked-about books of the year.

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Review: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

User Review  - Kressel Housman - Goodreads

I've become much more of a non-fiction reader in these past two years, and apparently, I'm part of a larger trend. Whether it's creative non-fiction/memoir or reality TV, true stories are "in." So ... Read full review

Review: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

User Review  - Will - Goodreads

Finally, a writer from inside my own head. A writer getting into why I like to read; a writer who attempts to explain the power that words on a page can have over each of us, the how and why ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

David Shields is the author of several previous books, including Dead Languages: A Novel in Stories and, most recently, the 2008 New York Times bestseller The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll be Dead. www.davidshields.

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