The Shell Game

University of Nebraska

April 1, 2018

Paperback 276 pp.
The Shell Game
Writers Play with Borrowed Forms
University of Nebraska Press, 2018
The Shell Game: Writers Play with Borrowed Forms is an anthology of intriguing essays that take their forms from ordinary, everyday sources: a recipe, a crossword puzzle, a Craig’s List ad... Edited and with an introduction by Kim Adrian, this selection of beautifully written, thought-provoking work has already become a classic in the increasingly popular genre affectionally known as "hermit crab essays."
The Shell Game lives proudly in The Millions' "Hall of Fame"

The Shell Game pushes the boundaries of prose and opens up a whole new world. . . . It makes readers feel as if they are learning what an essay is (or could be) all over again.” —New Pages “The essays in this collection bring with them a sense of hope about literature and its capacity for evolution and change. . . . A volume that is as much an inspiration for other writers as it is a definitive collection of a constantly evolving genre.” —The Millions “The anthology is plump with . . . forms: a Rubik’s cube using white space, an eBay advertisement, architectural blueprints for a house, board games, standardized tests, codes, legal documents, footnotes, questionnaires, pamphlets, how-to directions, and abecedarian ordering. Anyone from the expert essayist, lay reader, or a teacher looking for an evocative anthology will find something of value in these pages.” —Columbia Journal “What makes these essays so compelling . . . is not only that they comply with their chosen form but also that they include moments where they transgress. . . . The Shell Game may serve to expand what readers think of when they think of the essay.” —Punctuate Magazine “If you were to recommend this book to others, you’d likely tell them to savor it, make it last.” —Hippocampus Magazine “This collection can be returned to again and again, as the reading mind grows. . . . The Shell Game makes a unique and significant contribution.” —Split Rock Review
read a "hermit crab" interview +/-
Visit The Shell Game website (with Discussion Guide and Further Reading)
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