The latest addition to our Reviews Section isn’t a translation. It’s a review I wrote for GoodReads about David Shields’s new book, How Literature Saved My Life, which dropped last week. It’s also a book that I love and that I’ve been talking about on “the podcast”: and elsewhere for a while, so I figured I could break our “review only translation” rule for once.
So here’s the info:
David Shields’s books have the power to change the way you approach all art.
“What separates us is not what happens to us. Pretty much the same things happen to most of us: birth, love, bad driver’s license photos, death. What separates us is how each of us thinks about what happens to us. That’s what I want to hear.”
Building on Reality Hunger’s polemical call for the lyrical essay—a blending of fiction and fact and autobiography and fraud—How Literature Saved My Life presents an ambivalence about damn near everything (just see the bit where Shields first compares himself to the author Ben Lerner, then to George W. Bush) and in so doing, creates a piece of literature that illustrates the process of how Shields approaches literature, how this has evolved, how he thinks about thinking.
In some ways, Shields is like Nicholas Mosley plus Gregory Bateson plus the 21st Century.
Click here to read the full review.
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Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .