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Book Title: This Is Not a Novel|
The author of the book: David Markson
Date of issue: March 1st 2001
Loaded: 1771 times
Reader ratings: 7.7
ISBN 13: 9781582431338
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 39.89 MB
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The Barnes & Noble Review
This experimental work is an enthralling amalgamation of anecdotes, aphorisms, and quotations from writers and artists, interspersed with self-reflexive comments by the Writer who has assembled them. As the title implies, this is certainly not a novel -- not in the general sense of the term. And yet a reader who follows the flow will gradually notice certain novelistic conventions insinuating themselves. Writer -- as the narrator refers to himself -- is tired of inventing characters and subjecting them to the rigors of plot development. Instead, historical personages from Dickens to Beethoven recur throughout the book: They re born, create, speak fondly or acidly of their own work and the work of others, and then die. (Death, in fact, is a major concern of Writer.) Works of art interlock and interrelate; diary entries, attributions, and critical comments jostle for position. But what at first appear to be random bits of historical trivia ultimately come together with a narrative logic: a beginning, middle, and end. So while Markson has jettisoned the standard conflict-and-resolution pattern of a novel, he nevertheless fashions a literary journey that gets somewhere. Indeed, the book s conclusion will come as an intensely moving surprise to those who reach it.
Does Writer even exist in a book without characters? the narrator wonders. Passing through a period of aging and self-doubt, Writer looks deeply inside himself over the course of the book and worries about his very purpose. The real question hovering in the margins of this beguiling work is, Why do I write? Many an artist suffers under the burdens of posterity, the sinking feeling that words and works will fade with the passage of time. Eventually, though, this particular Writer answers in a qualified affirmative, for he realizes himself to be the main character in his own life. That which is not a novel, he implies, is life itself; creating art is what the artist does to live. In the end, out of a shared sense of mortality and its frailties and beauties, we can only agree. (Jonathan Cook)
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Read information about the authorDavid Markson was an American novelist, born David Merrill Markson in Albany, New York. He is the author of several postmodern novels, including This is Not a Novel, Springer's Progress, and Wittgenstein's Mistress. His most recent work, The Last Novel, was published in 2007 and received a positive review in the New York Times, which called it "a real tour de force."
Markson's work is characterized by an unconventional approach to narration and plot. While his early works may draw on the modernist tradition of William Faulkner and Malcolm Lowry, Markson says his later novels are "literally crammed with literary and artistic anecdotes" and "nonlinear, discontinuous, collage-like, an assemblage."
Dalkey Archive Press has published several of his novels. In December 2006, publishers Shoemaker & Hoard republished two of Markson's early crime novels Epitaph for a Tramp and Epitaph for a Dead Beat in one volume.
In addition to his novels, he has published a book of poetry and a critical study of Malcolm Lowry.
The movie Dirty Dingus Magee, starring Frank Sinatra, is based on Markson's first novel, The Ballad of Dingus Magee, an anti-Western. He wrote three crime novels early in his career.
Educated at Union College and Columbia University, Markson began his writing career as a journalist and book editor, periodically taking up work as a college professor at Columbia University, Long Island University, and The New School.
Markson died in his New York City, West Village apartment.
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