Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, And Other Fraudulent Artifacts

Edited by David Shields and Matthew Vollmer. Norton, $18.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-393-34195-9
Cleverness abounds in the 40 subversions of terms of service, disclaimers, how-to manuals, self-help books, catalogue copy, legal documents, and other quotidian genres. The editors have found some gems, such as Lorrie Moore's hilarious and moving "How to Become a Writer" (which begins: "First, try to be something, anything, else") and Amy Hempel's deeply ironic letter to the New York City Parking Violations Bureau contesting a ticket. In "This Is Just to Say That I'm Tired of Sharing an Apartment with William Carlos Williams," Laura Jayne Martin supplies a laugh-out-loud gloss on one of the celebrated poet's most famous imagist works. And Kari Anne Roy's "Chaucer Tweets the South by Southwest Festival" ("Wat ho, goatee'd man? Thy skinnee genes hath byrn'd my corneyas") is hilarious. Some pieces are surprisingly moving, such as Kevin Wilson's faux glossary "The Dead Sister Handbook: A Guide for Sensitive Boys" and Rick Moody's clever "Primary Sources," a bibliography with footnotes that examine the books, articles, and recordings that have impacted his life. But many go on too long. The joke of Jonathan Safran Foer's "About the Typefaces Not Used in This Edition" is mostly contained in the title. Like most anthologies, this one's hit or miss, though the hits are very good indeed. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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