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Enough about You: Adventures in Autobiographyby David Shields
Synopses & Reviews
Enough About You is a book about David Shields. But it is also a terrifically engrossing exploration and exploitation of self-reflection, self-absorption, full-blown narcissism, and the impulse to write about oneself.
In a world awash with memoirs and tell-alls, Shields has created something unique: he invites the reader into his mind as he turns his life into a narrative. With moving and often hilarious candor, Shields ruminates on a variety of subjects, all while exploring the impulse to confess, to use oneself as an autobiographical subject, to make one's life into a work of art.
Shields explores the connections between fiction and nonfiction, stuttering and writing, literary forms and literary contents, art and life; he confronts bad reviews of his earlier books; he examines why he read a college girlfriend's journal; he raids a wide range of cultural figures (from Rousseau, Nabokov, and Salinger to Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, and Bobby Knight) for what they have to tell him about himself; he quotes a speech he wrote on the occasion of his father's ninetieth birthday and then gives us the guilt-induced dream he had when he failed to deliver the speech; he also writes about basketball and sexuality and Los Angeles and Seattle, but he is always meditating on the origins of his interest in autobiography, on the limits and appeals of autobiography, on the traps and strategies of it, and finally, how to use it to get to the world.
The result is a collection of poetically charged self-reflections that reveal deep truths about ourselves as well.
"Shields — whose style is startling in its clarity and candor — throws the reader off balance with this slim volume of essays." The Oregonian
"In the prologue of Enough About You, Shields writes that he wants "to make the case that the only real journey is deeper inside and the only serious subject is the mystery of identity — mine, especially, but yours, too, I promise." Ask yourself if you agree before you proceed. If you're (as I am) skeptical about the artistic merits of solipsism (and weary of otherwise excellent fiction writers becoming mired in their own stories), there's little here that will convert." Taylor Antrim, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
"Gladdeningly inclusive, like a hug from Walt Whitman: declarative and fraught and good." Kirkus Reviews
"Shields examines the impulse to write about our experiences, turning our lives into works of art. Shields pulls this off with candor and grace to such an extent that we can see ourselves shining through." Library Journal
?This remarkable book — a smart, moody collage of memory, criticism, and story-telling — is a wonderful evocation of the paradox at the heart of all nonfiction writing: how to enter the self only to leave the self behind. Enough About You is a bold and altogether original approach to the pleasures and punishments of the personal narrative. I salute its enterprise whole-heartedly.? Vivian Gornick
?David Shields has managed to achieve near-total self-exposure without being a damn showoff. In Enough About You, he?s a postmodern Ancient Mariner, fixing us with his glittering eye and buttonholing us about everything, and we can?t help but listen. He even volunteers for the ultimate suicide literary suicide mission — answering your critics — and he comes back without a scratch.? David Gates
"Enough About You succeeds, barely at times, in embodying the contradictions that Shields loves so much." Austin American Statesman
"Shields's ability to weave a coherent and rather likable voice — ironic, self-implicating, blackly funny, hopeful — through these disjointed passages is impressive." Newsday
In a world awash with memoirs and tell-alls, Shields has created something unique: he invites the reader into his mind as he turns his life into a narrative. The result is a collection of poetically charged self-reflections which reveal deep truths about a variety of subjects.
About the Author
David Shields is the author of two novels, Dead Languages and Heroes; a collection of linked stories, A Handbook for Drowning; and three previous works of nonfiction, "Baseball Is Just Baseball": The Understated Ichiro, Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Foundation Fellowship), and Black Planet (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is a professor in the English department at the University of Washington.
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In Praise of Reality
In Praise of Collage
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