David Markson, The Last Novel. I recommend it, with the caveat that I don't think "it pulls it off"-- what it sets out to do, I think, is cause some emotional connection to a doubly or triply removed character named "Novelist" as he "remembers" or re-remembers various literary anecdotes almost all of which are interesting and a good number of which are priceless. The anecdotes are more than worth the price of admission. No doubt, one is actually not supposed to feel the connection but to feel "Novelist" as a ghostly presence, or something, and his unimportance, or something, in the vast terrain of literary history, etc. Whatever, I didn't. But the anecdotes are great, and his phrasing of them is terrific. I did't need a narrative tease, or really understand why it was, occasionally, there. In order to call it a novel? perhaps. & I'm still making up my mind on what to make of the Wastelandish conclusion(s). Will likely read it again. This is not a negative review, it's a puzzling book, & at that level, I'll take it back, certainly does pull it off. Me think puzzling good. Like they say.
Am now reading Vonnegut's Slapstick for the first time since high school. It holds up.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
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If you haven't, you should check out "Reader's Block," "This is Not a Novel," and "Vanishing Point." They all do the same thing, though the "character" varies--in one he is Reader, in another Writer, and I can't remember if there was a third. Anyhow, they are all definitely worth the read for the anecdotes alone!
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