Reader's Block by David Markson

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In this spellbinding, utterly unconventional fiction, an aging author who is identified only as Reader contemplates the writing of a novel. As he does, other matters insistently crowd his mind--literary and cultural anecdotes, endless quotations attributed and not, scholarly curiosities--the residue of a lifetime's reading which is apparently all he has to show for his decades on earth. Out of these unlikely yet incontestably fascinating materials--including innumerable details about the madness and calamity in many artists' and writers' lives, the eternal critical affronts, the startling bigotry, the countless suicides--David Markson has created a novel of extraordinary intellectual suggestiveness. But while shoring up Reader's ruins with such fragments, Markson has also managed to electrify his novel with an almost unbearable emotional impact. Where Reader ultimately leads us is shattering.

Dalkey Archive Press


About David Markson

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David Markson's novel Wittgenstein's Mistress was acclaimed by David Foster Wallace as "pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country." His other novels, including Reader's Block, Springer's Progress, and Vanishing Point, have expanded this high reputation. His novel The Ballad of Dingus Magee was made into the film Dirty Dingus Magee, which starred Frank Sinatra, and he is also the author of three crime novels. Born in Albany, New York, he has long lived in New York City.
Published January 1, 1996 by Dalkey Archive. 194 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Collage-like?'' (Answers: Yes, yes, and yes.) ``Protagonist has come to this place because he had no life back there at all,'' explains Reader as he continues with his indefatigable, funny, often terribly wrenching tapestry of facts both known and obscure (``Vachel Lindsay committed suicide by dr...

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Publishers Weekly

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Not to add avec exactly 333 interspersed unattributed quotations awaiting annotation?"" Reader's Block asks all these questions, and the lucky reader will not care a whit, for what Markson accomplishes, despite his doubts, is an utterly fascinating document that in itself is a small education in ...

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The gold is there, if one is willing to excavate.

Jan 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Reader's Block

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