Goodreads Synopsis: This experimental work is an enthralling amalgamation of anecdotes, aphorisms, and quotations from writers and artists, interspersed with self-reflexive comments by the Writer who has assembled them. As the title implies, this is certainly not a novel — not in the general sense of the term. And yet a reader who follows the flow will gradually notice certain novelistic conventions insinuating themselves. Writer — as the narrator refers to himself — is tired of inventing characters and subjecting them to the rigors of plot development. Instead, historical personages from Dickens to Beethoven recur throughout the book: They re born, create, speak fondly or acidly of their own work and the work of others, and then die. (Death, in fact, is a major concern of Writer.) Works of art interlock and interrelate; diary entries, attributions, and critical comments jostle for position. But what at first appear to be random bits of historical trivia ultimately come together with a narrative logic: a beginning, middle, and end. So while Markson has jettisoned the standard conflict-and-resolution pattern of a novel, he nevertheless fashions a literary journey that gets somewhere. Indeed, the book s conclusion will come as an intensely moving surprise to those who reach it.
“Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of all virtue, said Flaubert.”
I love experimental stories, and have actually read other books by Markson, so that’s why I decided to read This Is Not A Novel.
In the beginning of the book I really enjoyed the style and the prose. This Is Not A Novel is very experimental, so if that’s not your thing I would so to stay away from it. The book is a collection of sayings, facts, and occasional comments from the Writer. To me it felt like a book on mortality.
Like I said, in the beginning I liked the book, but yes after awhile it did get repetitive. Without a consistent character to propel the novel I found myself getting bored at times.
Why would I recommend you reading this book? Because I did like how it was a different type of story. I think every writer should read at least five experimental novels in their lifetimes. These books can help you look outside the box, and push the boundaries of storytelling. In the long run they can help you become a better writer.
I gave This Is A Novel three stars on Goodreads.