Monday, June 7, 2010

David Markson

Just heard that David Markson has died (via HTMLGiant).  He was one of those authors who became a favorite the first time I read one of his books (This Is Not A Novel, which I started with just because it was the one that was on the library shelf when I went looking).  He didn't have to grow on me.  I was hooked almost immediately.  I'm guessing Markson's work is like that.  You either get it right away or it leaves you cold.  Instead of trying to describe his style to the curious, I'd recommend opening one of his books at random and reading a couple of pages.  You'll know if it's for you or not.  But if, after reading those couple of pages, you were to ask, "is this all there is?", I would tell you that the answer is both "yes" and "no".

To me, and I think it's been said before, he was a magician.  There was something going on in the spaces between all those entries, something that accumulated in the course of reading one of his books.  I don't know how he did it, but it was a strong magic. 

Wittgenstein's Mistress just came in the mail over the weekend, before I heard the news.  It's probably mentioned more often than any other as his best book, thanks in part to David Foster Wallace saying that it was "pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country".  So, obviously, I'm pretty excited to get started on it.

Also, did the man who assembled his books out of notecards really have a Twitter?

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