An intellectually thrilling and emotionally wrenching investigation of otherness: the need for one person to understand another person completely, the impossibility of any such absolute knowing, and the erotics of this separation.
Can one person know another person? How do we live through other people? Is it possible to fill the gap between people? If not, can art fill that gap? Grappling with these questions, David Shields gives us a book that is something of a revelation: seventy-plus essays, written over the last thirty-five years, reconceived and recombined to form neither a miscellany nor a memoir but a sustained meditation on otherness. The book is divided into five sections: Men, Women, Athletes, Performers, Alter Egos. Whether he is writing about sexual desire or information sickness, George W. Bush or Kurt Cobain, women's eyeglasses or Greek tragedy, Howard Cosell or Bill Murray, the comedy of high school journalism or the agony of first love, Shields's sustained, piercing focus is on the multiplicity of perspectives informing any situation, on the irreducible log jam of human information, and on the possibilities, and impossibilities, for human connection.