Other People by David Shields
Takes & Mistakes

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The shortest essays here tend to be the best, reminiscent of Roland Barthes’s “Mythologies” and also the reviews and shorter essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. This is a very French book, really, and relies on the old-fashioned idea of an essay as an attempt. But there are fragments of interviews, too...
-NY Times

Synopsis

An intellectually thrilling and emotionally wrenching investigation of otherness: the need for one person to understand another person completely, the impossibility of any such absolute knowing, and the erotics of this separation.

Can one person know another person? How do we live through other people? Is it possible to fill the gap between people? If not, can art fill that gap? Grappling with these questions, David Shields gives us a book that is something of a revelation: seventy-plus essays, written over the last thirty-five years, reconceived and recombined to form neither a miscellany nor a memoir but a sustained meditation on otherness. The book is divided into five sections: Men, Women, Athletes, Performers, Alter Egos. Whether he is writing about sexual desire or information sickness, George W. Bush or Kurt Cobain, women's eyeglasses or Greek tragedy, Howard Cosell or Bill Murray, the comedy of high school journalism or the agony of first love, Shields's sustained, piercing focus is on the multiplicity of perspectives informing any situation, on the irreducible log jam of human information, and on the possibilities, and impossibilities, for human connection.
 

About David Shields

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DAVID SHIELDS is the author of thirteen previous books, including Reality Hunger (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications), The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (New York Times best seller), Black Planet (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award). He has published essays and stories in dozens of periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper's,The Village Voice, The Yale Review, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and The Believer. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.






















Author Residence: Seattle
 
Published February 21, 2017 by Knopf. 385 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Clancy Martin on Mar 06 2017

The shortest essays here tend to be the best, reminiscent of Roland Barthes’s “Mythologies” and also the reviews and shorter essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. This is a very French book, really, and relies on the old-fashioned idea of an essay as an attempt. But there are fragments of interviews, too...

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