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This Is Not a Novel by David Markson
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This Is Not a Novel (2001)

by David Markson

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» See also 13 mentions

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I did read this mish-mosh of historical/literary details & interspersed commentary fairly quickly, in line with the description of it being a page-turner. However the book's inclination towards the random & obscure, beyond a focus on causes of death, is puzzling. ( )
  JamesPaul977 | May 26, 2013 |
What this is: a list of short (1-3 line) anecdotes about artists. How they died, where they died, ways they insulted people, with occasional bits from Writer, who seems preoccupied with getting older, as well as the failure of his last book. Despite being devoid of plot and characters, there's quite a nice story here - mostly sad, but kind of funny. It's a quick read, and a good one. ( )
  kszym | Apr 3, 2013 |
Following the title, I wasn't expecting this to be a novel, but I did hope for some sort of philosophical statement about art & mortality. I found none. Why on earth was this even published? It's just a grocery list of anecdotes. Dull & uninspired. ( )
  aliceunderskies | Apr 1, 2013 |
Lines, phrases, couplets, words. Evidence again that literature is less about the form than the effect. Markson’s presentation is plotless, pithy. No characters, only names. No action, but the accumulating bits suggest a kind of onward momentum. Imprecisely does he convey his intent, the text evocative but evasive. Towards the end the reader is given a few hints of what the writer is getting at, but a sense of meaning is not at all necessary.
  HectorSwell | Aug 28, 2012 |
A series of statements on the causes of death of writers, artists, etc...

As well as quotes and anecdotes.

Names and series of names.

Epithets.

Seeming disjointed and random.

Meaningless?

No, not meaningless. With three words towards the end, Markson ties it all together. And all of a sudden the book explodes in your hand, and you understand what it was all about. No, it is not a novel. Few novels could affect me as strongly as this book did. I will not soon forget it.

If ever. ( )
3 vote beelzebubba | Apr 17, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
True to its title, the book doesn't, at first glance, appear to be a novel at all. As in his 1996 book "Reader's Block," Markson assembles a series of notebook-like entries that relate historical facts, philosophical observations and nasty gossip about the lives of great writers and artists throughout history. A typical item: "Trollope, as remembered by a schoolmate at Harrow: Without exception the most slovenly and dirty boy I have ever met."
added by davidcla | editSalon, Maria Russo (Apr 19, 2001)
 
Writer mopes around, feeling ''weary unto death of making up stories'' and ''equally tired of inventing characters.'' In an apparent bid to make his readers just as miserable, he wishes to ''contrive'' a ''novel'' without either.
 
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