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David Shields Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 3.31.10

"Ross McElwee's self-reflexive documentary Sherman's March changed my writing life. (Shortly after I watched it, someone said to me that it was 'the first film I've ever seen in which I recognized the South in which I lived'; I misheard her as saying 'the self in which I lived.') What is it about this work I like so much? The confusion between field report and self-portrait; the confusion between fiction and nonfiction; the author-narrator's use of himself as persona, as representative of feeling states; the antilinearity; the simultaneous bypassing and stalking of artifice-making machinery; the absolute seriousness, phrased as comedy; the violent torque of his beautifully idiosyncratic voice."
David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Knopf, 2010)

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