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

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

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by David Shields

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Contemporary short stories enacting giddy, witty revenge on the documents that define and dominate our lives.See more details below


Contemporary short stories enacting giddy, witty revenge on the documents that define and dominate our lives.

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

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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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, a collection of stories, as well as Inscriptions for Headstones, a collection of essays. He is the editor of A Book of
Uncommon Prayer, which collects invocations from over sixty acclaimed and emerging authors, and with David Shields is co-editor of Fakes; An
Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts,
and Other Fraudulent Artifacts. His work has appeared in a range of anthologies and magazines, including The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer
Train, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, Epoch, Best American
Essays and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. He directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Virginia Tech.

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