Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thought For Food

Interesting book review in The Guardian from a few days back, in response to David Shields' new book, Reality Hunger. I remember reading a small chunk of this in my grad school days - it's a very interesting thesis, although I agree with the reviewer here (Blake Morrison) that fiction is far from irrelevant to our lives as people, and as consumers of art. Nevertheless, an interesting subject to ponder, and I plan to read Shields' manifesto in full when it comes out in paperback.


  1. I thought this was really interesting, too; I realize that Shields wrote a polemic, which by its nature should be provocative and extreme, but what I want to know is why, even accepting that nonfiction is becoming increasingly important as a literary genre, that means that fiction necessarily has lost all its value? Can't we have both?

  2. I agree. Why do we need to see the two forms as somehow contingent upon each other - like a scale tipping either way? As with any genre of art, there are multiple approaches to recording experience, and varying approaches will connect with the varying kinds of people who consume art in the first place. We've hardly reached a monoculture, where all of us feel the fragmentation and the urgency for the "real" that Shields feels. I certainly don't feel that, anyway...