Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Review: Reality Hunger - David Shields 2*


The cover lines for Reality Hunger read "Is the novel dead ? Can You copyright reality ? Is art theft ?". All good and interesting questions which I was hoping Shields was going to demonstrate his arguments in a clear and informative fashion.

Instead, he has chosen to 'illustrate' his points, or mostly point singular - how much he detests the narrative novel form - by constructing his book from hundreds of quotes, each presented without reference or context apart from appearing under headings such as reality, mimesis, genre and persona.  What at sight of the cover looked to be an engaging and thought provoking read soon turns into a tedious grind of wading through hundreds of short texts supposedly linked to the chapter heading Shields has dreamed up but often having only the most tenuous of connections.

Perhaps I should construct the review along similar lines to the book by giving you two of the quotes...

359 - "Nonlinear. Discontinuous. Collage-like. An assemblage. As is already more than self-evident."

362 - "Nothing is going to happen in this book."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:22 pm

    oh man - I once did exactly this for an university essay on Postmodernism. The tutor put 'SEE ME' on it. I dutifully obliged and was told "this may be very clever, but don't EVER do it again..." ! I was happy enough with that.

    Paul T-G-M

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