In February 2010, David Shields released “Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.” In this text, Shields laid out a barrage of thoughts (some his own, but most grabbed and remixed from the voices and works of other thinkers and writers), arranging them into twenty-six theme-driven chapters. All this in an effort to light a fire in the world of fiction, which “Reality Hunger” chastised as an increasingly hermetic one, amidst an era of hyper media-saturation, constantly evolving form, and an overwhelming public demand for sensation and brevity.
“Fakes,” a new anthology of writing curated by Shields and Matthew Vollmer, represents a work in this vein. With its plurality of voices, all pushing at the edges of form in various—but always short-lived—styles, this collection (subtitled “An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts and Other Fraudulent Artifacts”) highlights and propagates an alternative to the marginalized voice of The Author.
There’s no arguing that the amount of pure information which inundates us daily is, to say the least, staggering—especially if you’ve got a desk job. Novel reading has dropped off noticeably in this climate, but the energy of The Novel’s soul (“or whatever it is inside us that might otherwise wither, if not for the life-giving and life-sustaining energy of art,” the foreword states) remains abundant, and wonders where to go, this shared human energy of story and language. Read the rest of this entry »