The Thing Itself

The Thing Itself

On the Search for Authenticity

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781594483844
  • 272 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


The celebrated literary memoir and chronicle of one man’s search for the elusive gift of authenticity.

Troubled by the lack of substance in contemporary life, Richard Todd suspects that much of what we experience is false. In this unique pursuit of the “genuine,” Todd examines his search for authenticity in places and objects, in politics and ideas, and in ourselves, and recounts his efforts to understand the desire to be a real person in a real world.


“There is a sweet memoir embedded in this book of cultural criticism, into which Mr. Todd has deftly wrangled the whole gang, from Jean Baudrillard to Lionel Trilling.”
-The New York Times

“An arch and eloquent meditation.”
-O, the Oprah magazine

“Dazzling, beautifully crafted…A small masterpiece- and ‘small’ only because of its brevity, not its scope.”
-Chicago Tribune

“Provocative and oddly comforting…Refreshing.”
-The Arizona Republic

“A fully realized, brave, and movingly honest memoir…[Todd] makes a figure in which to contemplate ourselves.”

“A splendid book, brimming with wit and original insights…Most pertinent to the way we live now.”
-Ward Just, author of Forgetfulness