In this first-ever book of letters by novelist David Markson — a quintessential “writer’s writer” whose work David Foster Wallace once lauded as “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country”—readers will experience Markson at his wittiest and warmest. Laura Sims shares her correspondence with him, which began with an impassioned fan letter in 2003 and ended with his death in 2010, finally allowing a glimpse into the personal world of this solitary man who found his life's solace in literature.
The letters trace the growth of a genuine and moving friendship between two writers at very different stages; in them we see Markson grapple, humorously, with the indignities of old age and poor health, and reminiscence about his early days as a key literary figure in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1950s and 60s. At the same time, he sincerely celebrates Sims’s marriage and the first milestones of her career as a poet. The book is full of engaging commentary on life, love, and the writing life:
On old age: “Did I say I was 117? Now that the humidity has finally lifted, I sometimes don’t feel a day over 109.”
On critics: “If I’d run into the guy…I would have punched him in the mouth.”
On blogs: “I would rather spend an hour and a half trying to solve the roughest first draft of a note for the new book…than ever ever ever read another word of the Internet.”
On politics: “I hope neither of you slashed your wrists after the election. I was gonna jump off the roof here, but my sciatica hurt too much for me to get over the railing.”
Markson reveals himself to be casually erudite, caustically funny, lovably cantankerous, and always entertaining. This volume marks a significant contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Markson’s indubitably important and affecting body of work and will be a delight for his long-time fans as well as those just now discovering him.