Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto


By (author) David Shields

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 219 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 216mm x 25mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 23 February 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0307273539
  • ISBN 13: 9780307273536
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 353,351

Product description

An open call for new literary and other art forms to match the complexities of the twenty-first century. Reality TV dominates broadband. YouTube and Facebook dominate the web. In "Reality Hunger: A Manifesto," his landmark new book, David Shields (author of the "New York Times" best seller "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead") 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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Author information

David Shields is the author of nine previous books, including Black Planet, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Remote, winner of the PEN/Revson Award. His work has been translated into a dozen languages.

Review quote

"In his new book, "Reality Hunger," David Shields makes a case that a new literary form has arrived. [He] challenges our most basic literary assumptions about originality, authenticity, and creativity. "Reality Hunger" has caused a stir in literary circles. [The book] has struck a nerve." --Andrew Richard Albanese, " Publishers Weekly" (cover article) ""Reality Hunger" is an exhilarating smash-up. . . . a work of virtuoso banditry that promises to become, like Lewis Hyde's "The Gift" for earlier generations, the book that artists in all media turn to for inspiration, vindication, and altercation as they struggle to reinvent themselves against the headwinds of our time." --Rob Nixon, "Chronicle of Higher Education" " Maybe he's simply ahead of the rest of us, mapping out the literary future of the next generation." --Susan H. Greenberg, "Newsweek" "The driving force behind this entertaining and highly persuasive polemic is a frustration with the contemporary mainstream novel. . . . I can't stop recommending it to my friends. There is no more effective description (and example) of the aesthetic concerns of the internet age than this." --Edward King, "The Times of London" "Shields has a point. He gives a damn. He's trying to make a difference. He's using the best of his formidable talents to do that." --Wayne Alan Brenner, "The Austin Chronicle" "I love this book and am amused to see some of the hysterical reactions it's provoked--proof, I think, of its radical truthfulness. Shields is utterly uninterested in providing intellectual comfort; he bravely, uncompromisingly delivers the news." --Walter Kirn "On the one hand: Who does this guy think he is? On the other: It's about time someone said something this honest in print. . . . [I am] grateful for this beautiful (yes, raw and gorgeous) book." --Susan Salter Reynolds," Los Angeles Times" """David Shields's radical intellectual manifesto, "Reality Hunger "(Kn