by David Shields
(Knopf, hardcover, 206p, $22.00 U.S./ $31.00 Can.)
I asked my friend Aaron to write this review of Remote but he just started reading aloud from the book. Damn him.
Perhaps I too shall look to the words of the author David Shields, whose previous books include the novels Dead Languages and Heroes. Shields wrote: "[This book] is a self-portrait given over to a single subject and splintered into fifty two pieces: I'm reading my life as if it were an allegory, an allegory about remoteness, and finding evidence wherever I can."
And the evidence is indeed evident in the celebrity obsessed media saturated world we live in. Shields writes of "Oprah" and "A Current Affair"; reports on other people's dreams about Kurt Cobain and cops to his own brushes and obsessions with fame; he contemplates the sexiness of a girl who wears glasses and the emotional distance of the porn star. Equal parts cultural criticism, memoir, reportage and fantasy, Remote manages to be both smart and funny, and more importantly, to tell Shields' life story entirely from bumper stickers.