I’m a big fan of David Shields’ work, going back at least ten years now, maybe longer. I think he’s one of the most inventive and ambitious and original writers around. So I had high expectations for Reality Hunger, which I read in galley form a couple of months ago. I was not disappointed. It’s excellent. In fact, when the final copy of the book arrived in the mail the other day I was actually excited to think about reading it again.
The book is billed as “an open call for new literary and other art forms to match the complexities of the 21st century.” The official description:
Shields’s manifesto is an ars poetica for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists who, living in an unbearably artificial world, are breaking ever larger chunks of “reality” into their work. The questions Shields explores—the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real—play out constantly around us, and Reality Hunger is a rigorous, radical reframing of how we might think about this “truthiness”: about literary license, quotation, and appropriation in television, film, performance art, rap, and graffiti, in lyric essays, prose poems, and collage novels.
I may write more about it later, with my more specific reactions to it. Also: I may not. Meanwhile, if you are interested in these subjects, I recommend the book. More information here.