Anti-Novel Manifesto Reads Like 'Hokey' Fiction

David Shields' hypocritical book is dependent on plot
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2010 4:18 PM CST

(Newser) – The subtitle of David Shields’ Reality Hunger—an anti-novel, anti-plot screed that celebrates reality in all its forms—is A Manifesto, which automatically makes it less about “reality” and more about creating a stir, writes Laura Miller. Even as he rails against the outdated novel, Shields is creating a character and a plot: him against the world. He “could have simply announced that he has lost all interest in reading or writing fiction.”

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But no. He dramatized his anger. “Shields used to write and read fiction, but he's lost interest in it," writes Miller for Salon. "The semi-documentary, semi-autobiographical lyric essay is what he wishes to pursue.” Sadly, his colleagues "don't take it seriously." The anti-novel writer is understandably miffed, so he…writes a manifesto, “with drama and conflict baked right into the format!” It’s hypocrisy. "When you write a manifesto, you are, after all, telling a story, and casting yourself as its hero.” (Read more Reality Hunger: A Manifesto stories.)

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