Reality Hunger: A
Manifesto is David Shield's tenth book, and a culmination of his dynamic and studied 30-year journey from fiction to nonfiction, conventional narrative to fragment/collage, genre category to genre blur, story hunger to reality hunger (via).
Consider the rise of the memoir, the incidences of contrived and
fabricated memoirs, the rash of imputations of plagiarism in novels, the
overall ill health of the mainstream novel. Consider, too, culture
outside of literature: reality TV, the many shades and variations of
documentary film, the rise of the curator, the rise of the D.J.,
sampling, appropriation, the carry-over of collage from modernism into
This book has angered a lot of people.
If it were only a simple matter of personal taste, why would Reality Hunger have generated so much attention? It clearly “clocked or locked a feeling in the air,” as one reviewer put it. Some find the book catalyzing; others find the book threatening. Pretty much what I expected. (via)
A major focus of Reality Hunger is appropriation and plagiarism and what those terms mean (via).
So, then, as I was reading Reality Hunger, and agreeing with
the things he said, or appropriated, or intoned, I never got the sense
that he was doing something new himself. The book, at some point, became
a repeating blinker for me, a “manifesto” (self-styled for its form,
which almost goes against the grain of its own argument), not building
something wholly new or vital out of the text itself, but more just,
almost, beating a dead horse. I’d much rather have seen a book that
started with these ideas, and then transcended them, made something
bigger, a book larger than the sum of its parts, which for me it was not
at all. Many of the parts were much larger than the book itself (via).
The origin of this book is my response to my fascination, bafflement,
and bewilderment at the fact the novel form has died on me. You could
say, ‘Who cares. So the novel went dead for you…that’s your problem.’
But I don’t think it was a coincidence the novel went dead, nor do I
think it’s just my problem. (via).
Not enough? Here, have my copy.