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Keep It Fake

Inventing an Authentic Life

Eric G. Wilson

Sarah Crichton Books

Keep It Fake Download image

ISBN10: 0374536120
ISBN13: 9780374536121

Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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In Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson investigates the phenomenon of invented identities. He draws on neuroscience, psychology, sociology, philosophy, art, film, literature, and his own life to explore the possibility that there's no such thing as unwavering reality. Whether our left brains are shaping the raw data of our right into fabulous stories or we're so saturated by society's conventions that we're always acting out prefab scripts, we can't help but be phony.

But are some fakes more real than others? Are certain lies true? In lively prose—honest, provocative, erudite, witty, wide-ranging (as likely to riff on Bill Murray as to contemplate Plato)—Keep It Fake answers these questions, uncovering bracing truths about what it means to be human and helping us turn our necessary lying into artful living.


Praise for Keep It Fake

“[A] terrific new philosophical investigation . . . The great appeal to me of Wilson's view and this book [is] he is brave enough to admit that the work of trying to be a good person requires you to think very hard—yes, very honestly—about how you actually interact with others.”The New York Times Book Review

“Wilson has ultimately written a deeply personal book, almost a lifeline . . . An elliptical, provocative meditation that reads as much like a catharsis as a manifesto.”Kirkus Reviews

“A gifted, candid raconteur, [Wilson] serves up pithy and often playful writing . . . Readers should be left entertained and enlightened by Wilson's vast knowledge, immediacy, and honesty.”—Publishers Weekly


Read an Excerpt


I am the boy whose first word was "ball." I am six and sitting at dinner with my parents and two-year-old brother. We are eating chicken-and-cream-of-mushroom casserole, Del Monte green beans, and Brown 'n Serve dinner rolls....

About the author

Eric G. Wilson

Eric G. Wilson is the Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is the author of Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away, Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy, The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace, and five books on the relationship between literature and psychology.

Ken Bennett

Eric G. Wilson

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