30 January 2004

David Markson

Mark Sarvas links to a review of Vanishing Point, a new novel by one of the odder writers out there, David Markson, whose books tend to be ostensibly random accumulations of fragmentary information which, after twenty or fifty pages, begin to suggest form and patterns and then, more often than not, end up being surprisingly powerful by the last page.

Markson's novel Wittgenstein's Mistress is one of the greatest post-apocalyptic/last-person-on-Earth books I've ever encountered (and it may not be post-apocalyptic at all, since that judgment is left to the reader), one of the only books I've read which simultaneously conveys senses of claustrophobia, agoraphobia, and endlessly expansive loneliness along with subtle humor, lightness of style, and trivial erudition. The situation in Wittgenstein's Mistress grounds Markson's experimental structure and allows resonances beyond what he was able to achieve in the more hermetic situations of the novels which followed it, but they're all worth encountering.

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