One assumes that fans of David Markson's work will not be too disappointed by this latest book. I was not, though I admit I prefer his other writings to this. The book is structured as a sequence of sentences, often anecdotes describing the creative habits and deaths of an artistic pantheon. Sure, some will consider the book pretentious, but part of its glory is the effort of the writer, the central character, if any, who seems to be more of a reader, Markson, perhaps, and who puzzles and tries to be reconciled with his own impending mortality. Aside from the bounty of names, here and there an uncommon star appears, this book takes less cleverness to resolve into a thoughtful experience than other Markson books. Most dazzling, to be sure, is the variant structure of declarative sentences, often taken for granted. Some structures are continued repetitively, others, strikingly, challenge the rhythm the reader establishes. The sequences have the potential to mesmerize the patient and weary the rushed.
Out of all of the books, anecdotes, and sentences a character of sorts appears, who is not terribly interesting, nor completely capable of engaging the world without thinking through reading. The book is filled with curiosities that will jog to recollection details from a life spent reading. For some it is important to criticize what this book is not. Certainly, the style and approach to the writing of this book does not differ radically from the author's others. Perhaps this one is more refined. Perhaps it is repetitive and parodic. I prefer to recommend its observant and playful stories and structures that emerge from the sentences.