If Nijinski was mad, was rose madder?
Briefly, because I do not care to dissuade anyone from reading this one, but I’m also not inclined to recommend it either—at least not for most readers.
It seems, to me, obvious that this novel suggests the beginnings of what will become Markson’s pared down style which, again for me, made the tetralogy and Wittgenstein’s Mistress so endearing. That is not to say that it resembles these in form or tone at all, rather the combination of limitless references to artists, philosophers, artworks, religious personages and concepts, along with stunning brevity in the dialogue and stream of consciousness passages made frustrating by an incredible amount of aposiopesis, marked not with marks of ellipses, but rather the terminal period. Terminal being all sorts of operative.
I had to wonder if this was Markson’s ‘Mexico novel’ in the same way Lowry has his (Under the Volcano)—Lowry is one of those to whom this is dedicated. Reading this, however, and as I can’t speak to UtV, yet, I was put more in mind of Pedro Paramo, especially after having completed half the novel, I decided to find out just where in Mexico Mictlán is. Boy howdy, a totally different slant on this novel at that point (as it’s rather a spoiler, you can look it up yourself should you be so inclined).
So, one for the Markson Completists—challenging, dark, frustrating. To be honest, I’m more inclined to go backwards toward Epitaph for a Tramp and Epitaph for a Dead Beat, than to make the leap forward to Springer’s Progress. We’ll see.
Quotes from this one? I got next to nothing, although friends of alliteration might just like:
(one of countless examples of terminal aposiopesis).When fetal Fern was few weeks formed.