How Literature Saved My Life

Editorial reviews

How Literature Saved My Life

In a fractured memoir of his life as a writer and reader, he splurges about anything and everything.

This manic thirst for literary insight undiluted by novelistic trappings gives this book an unseemly enthusiasm that is more reminiscent of a speed-freak than the work of the fiftysomething university professor who actually wrote it.

How Literature Saved My Life presents a way forward for literature in new forms.

How Literature Saved My Life doesn’t promise to save your life, or mine. But here and there, David Shields offers enough tantalizing glimpses of potential salvation-through-words to make the experiences of his unique psyche worthwhile.

A work of contradictions, subversions, depression, humor and singular awareness; Shields is at his finest when culling the work of others to arrive at his own well-timed, often heartbreaking lines.

Forswearing traditional storytelling, Mr. Shields doesn’t allow himself to dwell on any subject long enough to say much that’s meaningful about it.

At the heart of How Literature Saved My Life is a fear of being trapped (in the self) mingled with a sense that that entrapment is inevitable for humans, that it’s a tragic dimension of the human.