Reality Hunger: a manifesto, by David Shields
I love manifestos. I’m not saying that I agree with all of them, or even most of them. Sometimes they are downright evil. But as a literary form, the Manifesto is, when properly executed, a flame of pure fire.
A new manifesto which has recently joined our library’s collection is David Shields’ Reality Hunger: a manifesto. Shields argues for the use of “reality” in art and against the increasingly problematic standpoint that divides literature into the real (non-fiction, and specifically memoirs) and the made-up.
Not only that, he argues, as many have before him, that the novel is dead. Not only is the novel dead, according to Shields, but he actually celebrates its death. Shields makes a strong argument and, this being a manifesto, he isn’t required to bore us to death with painstaking research. He takes from “high” (the essays of Montaigne) and “low” (television shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, or Simma Lugnt Larry as it’s known in Swedish).
Whether you agree with him or not, the result is an entertaining and thought-provoking read.