Books of the year 2010 | Michael Sayeau

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields


While this year, to my mind, was marked by the release of highly anticipated novels that failed to live up to their advance billing, it was nonetheless a great year for the theoretical or polemical consideration of what a novel should be. David Shields's Reality Hunger: A Manifesto is an uneven work, haunted by self-contradiction, but still it arrived as a refreshing reopening of the question of what it is that we do, should be doing, when we write fiction - or whatever might fill the role that fiction has long held in culture. On the other hand, Gabriel Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism was a sustained and historically grounded argument in favour of the resumed engagement the central problematics of modernist art. Both of these works, in the end, approach the novel as a going concern, which is a heartening turn for those of us who read or write them.


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