Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts

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Overview

Contemporary short stories enacting giddy, witty revenge on the documents that define and dominate our lives.
In our bureaucratized culture, we’re inundated by documents: itineraries, instruction manuals, permit forms, primers, letters of complaint, end-of-year reports, accidentally forwarded email, traffic updates, ad infinitum. David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, both writers and professors, have gathered forty short fictions that they’ve found to be seriously hilarious and ...

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Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters,

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Overview

Contemporary short stories enacting giddy, witty revenge on the documents that define and dominate our lives.
In our bureaucratized culture, we’re inundated by documents: itineraries, instruction manuals, permit forms, primers, letters of complaint, end-of-year reports, accidentally forwarded email, traffic updates, ad infinitum. David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, both writers and professors, have gathered forty short fictions that they’ve found to be seriously hilarious and irresistibly teachable (in both writing and literature courses): counterfeit texts that capture the barely suppressed frustration and yearning that percolate just below the surface of most official documents. The innovative stories collected in Fakes—including ones by Ron Carlson (a personal ad), Amy Hempel (a complaint to the parking department), Rick Moody (Works Cited), and Lydia Davis (a letter to a funeral parlor)—trace the increasingly blurry line between fact and fiction and exemplify a crucial form for the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
For those bored with the more stodgy "best of" collections of literary fiction, this book is an entertaining escape into that absurd realm of writing where "fake" can be a good thing.
—T. Rees Shapiro
Publishers Weekly
Cleverness abounds in the 40 subversions of terms of service, disclaimers, how-to manuals, self-help books, catalogue copy, legal documents, and other quotidian genres. The editors have found some gems, such as Lorrie Moore's hilarious and moving "How to Become a Writer" (which begins: "First, try to be something, anything, else") and Amy Hempel's deeply ironic letter to the New York City Parking Violations Bureau contesting a ticket. In "This Is Just to Say That I'm Tired of Sharing an Apartment with William Carlos Williams," Laura Jayne Martin supplies a laugh-out-loud gloss on one of the celebrated poet's most famous imagist works. And Kari Anne Roy's "Chaucer Tweets the South by Southwest Festival" ("Wat ho, goatee'd man? Thy skinnee genes hath byrn'd my corneyas") is hilarious. Some pieces are surprisingly moving, such as Kevin Wilson's faux glossary "The Dead Sister Handbook: A Guide for Sensitive Boys" and Rick Moody's clever "Primary Sources," a bibliography with footnotes that examine the books, articles, and recordings that have impacted his life. But many go on too long. The joke of Jonathan Safran Foer's "About the Typefaces Not Used in This Edition" is mostly contained in the title. Like most anthologies, this one's hit or miss, though the hits are very good indeed. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
A compendium of fictional satires, parodies and other attempts to transform commonplace forms into literary art. In his Reality Hunger (2010), co-editor Shields agitated for new forms of fiction that eschew standard-issue realism and integrate more of life as it's truly lived. The 40 pieces collected here, most published in the past two decades, represent one subgenre of experimentation, showcasing tweaks of everyday documents like interviews, how-to guides, academic papers and more. Many are comic pieces that shed light on the restrictiveness of the form being mocked. Jack Pendarvis' "Our Spring Catalog," for instance, pokes fun at the hollow enthusiasm of book publishers' promotional blurbs, while George Saunders' "I CAN SPEAK!" ventriloquizes the soothing tone of customer-service letters--the story becomes more brilliantly absurd as the corporate functionary defends a contraption that purports to translate toddler-speak into English. This isn't strictly an assortment of send-ups, however. Daniel Orozco's "Officers Weep" uses the format of the police blotter to shift from just-the-facts crime listings to a glimpse into the force's existential musings. Charles Yu's "Problems for Self-Study" cleverly employs the language of story problems to illuminate a couple's connection and separation, while Charles McLeod's heartbreaking "National Treasures" encapsulates the narrator's hard-knock life in the form of an auction catalog. There are some ringers here--Lorrie Moore's "How to Become a Writer" doesn't truly tweak how-to language--while social-media riffs like Kari Anne Roy's "Chaucer Tweets the South by Southwest Festival" show that the form is still evolving as fodder for effective fiction. But in the aggregate, these stories suggest a few future directions for storytelling, and Shields and Vollmer (English/Virginia Tech; Future Missionaries of America, 2009) convincingly press the necessity of the task--these pieces represent "our oft-repressed language staging a rebellion." Other noteworthy contributors include Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, Jonathan Safran Foer, Paul Theroux and Rick Moody. Some pieces rebel better than others, but there's ample inspiration for comic and serious fiction authors alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393341959
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 973,987
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Shields, the author of Reality Hunger, is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington.

Matthew Vollmer is the author of Future Missionaries of America and Inscriptions for Headstones. He is a professor at Virginia Tech.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    A story

    I walked in my room one crisp fall day and sat in my bed. Then my brother came in with his friend. He grabbed me and took of my clothes his friend striped and walked over to me i screamed but he forced me down on the bed and forced my legs apart while my brother squized my boo bs his friend then atacked me with his di ck thrusting in and out with force. My brother stoped squizing my boo bs and made me lie on my side. I did and he attacked me with his di ck in my but his friend continued and they ra ped me from either side then my brother took his two fingers and jammed them up my pu ssy with force i screamed but his friend leapt and threw his co ck stait in this went on for hours

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Minnie

    I feel bad for yall. I was to by my mom. She made me eat her out. Now i live in italy with my family

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Ate

    I was being spanked in public with my panties on the ground it was emmberasing!!

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