Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson (Paperback)

Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson By Laura Sims (Editor), David Markson, Ann Beattie (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Laura Sims (Editor), David Markson, Ann Beattie (Afterword by)
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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 reminisce 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.

About the Author

David Markson earned his reputation as a master innovator of 20th and 21st-century fiction with his iconoclastic approach to plot, narrative, and character. His critically acclaimed novels include: Springer's Progress (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977), Wittgenstein's Mistress (Dalkey, 1988), Reader's Block (Dalkey, 1996), This is Not a Novel (Counterpoint, 2001), and Vanishing Point (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004). Born in Albany, New York in 1927, Markson earned an M.A. from Columbia University and worked as a journalist, book editor, and sometime college professor. Although he considered himself "well known for being unknown," Markson's circle of readers and fans has continued to grow since his death in 2010. Laura Sims is the author of three books of poetry, including My god is this a man (Fence Books, 2014). She has been the recipient of a Creative Arts Exchange Fellowship and the Fence Books Alberta Prize. Sims has written book reviews and essays for Rain Taxi, New England Review, Boston Review, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction. She teaches literature and creative writing at NYU and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Ann Beattie's most recent book isMrs. Nixon (Scribner, 2011).The New Yorker Stories(Scribner, 2010)was named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. Her story "Janus" was included in John Updike'sThe BestAmerican Short Stories of the Century. She lives with her husband in Maine.

Praise For…

"In 2003, the poet Laura Sims wrote a gushing fan letter to the experimental-fiction writer David Markson. (“ ‘Perfect’ is the one word I would choose to describe your work as a whole,” she wrote.) 'Fare Forward,' a new book, collects Markson’s side of their ensuing correspondence, which continued until 2010, when he died at 82."
-New York Times Book Review

"Readers familiar with the late novelist's work will find much in these pages; but even readers with only a passing familiarity will be rewarded."
-Publishers Weekly

"Sims' book is a poignant testament to a sort of friendship the Internet has obsoleted"
-The Chicago Tribune

"I like that the title is positive, forward-looking, and optimistic in a way, because I think that there’s actually an optimism in his writing that is often buried, but is sort of always there, a strange optimism that I can’t quite describe."
-Full Stop

"An intimate, lively portrait of Markson through short letters, Fare Forward is a perfect companion to Markson's books and a moving, spare chronicle of the last few years of his life.”
-Brian Evenson

"Oh how beautiful to hear David Markson's voice one more time, off-hand, casually erudite, vulnerable, engaged, open, humble. These letters provide a precious glimpse into the way an extraordinary writer moved through the world. It gives us fragments of the sensibility he used and transformed into his life's work. There is such poignancy here, as he grapples with solitude, or the passing of time, or the re-election of George W. Bush, or finding a new form for his next novel in the last years of his life. There’s so much heart and soul there. 

There was once a time I would run into David regularly at the wine store on Seventh Avenue in the Village or other such places and we would often linger and talk--it was always part gossip, part literature, part angst what-will-ever-become-of-us-as-writers stuff. How I long to speak with him one more time! Fare Forward brings back the man, intimately and with great immediacy and I am deeply grateful for it, every word. Thank you Laura Sims.”
-Carole Maso

Product Details
ISBN: 9781576877005
ISBN-10: 1576877000
Publisher: powerHouse Books
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Pages: 156
Language: English