Requiescat in pace: David Markson; followed by a Book Discussion announcement

This is obviously a little belated. We don’t commemorate too many deaths here, and I probably would not have done so in this instance either if I had not been reminded of this very fine passage from David Markson’s wonderful novel Going Down. It just felt, I don’t know, for lack of a better word, appropriate.

But then how strange, how inexplicably unreal, the facade of the church seeming to waver and recede, the silvered crucifix at its spire melting distantly into the drifting morning’s mists, and the square itself as it came alive both familiarly lovely and desolately alien at once, some gloriously insane Turner suddenly conceiving the sky now too, until I felt queerly tense, queerly expectant, and with something exultant in my head as well, Bach-like, the terrible beauty of some passion or requiem or credo never before heard, and with a sense of infinite peace also, as in that ceaseless ebb and drift of love, or the Tao, where something unimaginably miraculous was surely about to occur, or even lay upon me, myself, so that in that very moment I might have raised my lamed hand to deliver all, might have cried forth the dead, invoked radiance before the blind! Or was I only mad yet once again, and lost, as forever, lost? (p. 191)

If you’ve not read Markson, I suggest you work him into your reading schedule. You will be rewarded. (Note: if you opt for Going Down, I exhort you to read Lowry’s Under the Volcano alongside it. ¡Viva México!)

Incidentally, I just realized I’d kind of let this subject dry up, but who’s up for another Book Discussion Group this summer? We had a couple of suggestions at the end of the one we did on The Recognitions — Hoban’s Kleinzeit and McCarthy’s Blood Meridian stand out — but I’m not opposed to other suggestions. Let’s try to hash this out in the comments.

10 Responses to “Requiescat in pace: David Markson; followed by a Book Discussion announcement”

  1. Jonathan Post Says:

    I have Blood Meridian on my shelf already, so I’m down for that.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I vote for Kleinzeit.

  3. Robert Minto Says:

    I’d like to participate this time round. I also prefer the idea of Kleinzeit.

  4. Brad Johnson Says:

    Kleinzeit would be an incredibly easy book to plow through, I think. I’m fine w/ that if we can get a critical mass of interest.

  5. Nathan Says:

    I’d like to participate this round as well. I’m happy with either book, though I’d prefer Kleinzeit simply because I have not yet read it.

    If you all are open to suggestions, I propose Omensetter’s Luck by William Gass.

  6. ben Says:

    Kleinzeit, really? Definitely a good book if you want to get an early and strong taste of Hoban’s annoying, self-indulgent tendencies.

  7. Brad Johnson Says:

    I think it’s fair to share that we at AUFS have never shied away from annoying, self-indulgent tendencies.

  8. ben Says:

    I admit it’s been roughly forever since I read it.

  9. Brad Johnson Says:

    I read it quite a while ago, as well. I do remember some tedious and annoying bits, but I also remember being overjoyed by other parts. It is short enough I’m willing to roll the dice again if enough people are interested in doing so w/ me. It’s so small, in fact, I might just turn it into a PDF, versus packing it w/ my other books when I fly overseas.

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