David Markson’s Letters

This sounds like a super-cool book.

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. Poet 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.

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 longtime fans as well as those just now discovering him.

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