“Such are the perfections of fiction...Everything it teaches is useless insofar as structuring your life: you can’t prop up anything with fiction. It, in fact, teaches you just that. That in order to attempt to employ its specific wisdom is a sign of madness...There is more profit in an hour’s talk with Billy Graham than in a reading of Joyce. Graham might conceivably make you sick, so that you might move, go somewhere to get well. But Joyce just sends you out into the street, where the world goes on, solid as a bus. If you met Joyce and said 'Help me,' he’d hand you a copy of Finnegans Wake. You could both cry.” – Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things

Monday, June 7, 2010

RIP David Markson

One of my favorite writers, David Markson, died a few days ago. He is perhaps best remembered for Wittgenstein's Mistress, a novel written in short aphoristic sections about a woman who is (apparently) the last person left alive on earth. Most of his later novels were written in this same style (including the wonderful Reader's Block). His earlier works, however, are very much written in the style of 'pulp' novels, including the noir-y detective novel Epitaph for a Tramp and the (hysterically funny) comic western, The Ballad of Dingus Magee, which was actually turned into a major motion picture starring Frank Sinatra called Dirty Dingus Magee. Markson was a phenomenal talent, and his death is a serious loss for readers of experimental literature.

You can read interviews with the man himself here and here.

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