Reality Hunger

Reality Hunger consists of 618 numbered passages divided into twenty-six chapters. Approximately half of the book’s words come from sources other than the author. Because of Random House lawyers, attribution for the quotes is given in a fine print appendix at the end of the book, but with Shields’s encouragement to cut those pages from the book so as to preserve the book’s intended disorienting effect.

“Who owns the words?” Shields muses, reiterating the book’s central thrust, but also referring directly to the 618 aphoristic chunks – ranging in length from a few words to a few paragraphs – that he has gathered, arranged, spliced and manipulated in order to convey both his distaste for conventional narrative and his excitement at what he identifies as an emerging movement of reality-based art.

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