Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity by David Shields
In this truly one-of-a-kind book, the author/narrator - a representative, in extremis, of contemporary American obsession with beauty, celebrity, transmitted image - finds himself suspended, fascinated, in the remoteness of our wall-to-wall mediascape. It is a remoteness that both perplexes and enthralls him. Through dazzling sleight of hand in which the public becomes private and the private becomes public, the entire book - clicking from confession to family-album photograph to family chronicle to sexual fantasy to pseudo-scholarly footnote to reportage to personal essay to stand-up comedy to cultural criticism to literary criticism to film criticism to prose-poem to litany to outtake - becomes both an anatomy of American culture and a searing self-portrait. David Shields reads his own life - reads our life - as if it were an allegory about remoteness and finds persuasive, hilarious, heartbreaking evidence wherever he goes.