MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Springer’s Progress

Springer’s Progress by David Markson
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Feb 14, 12

bookshelves: dalkey-archive, merkins, novels
Read from February 13 to 14, 2012

At some point David Markson seems to have become physically unable to write linear sentences, stifled by the anxiety of influence, or the agonising labour of such a well-trodden enterprise, and his failure to do so. Eventually, his novels would break down into nuggets of trivia, lost forever to the bookish world of highbrow literary allusiveness that engulfed most of his postmodernist friends. This novel is written in a berserk shorthand that flits between a sardonic narrator, a close third-person narrator, and long passages of stylised dialogue—all packed tight with literary allusions, direct quotes, clever wordplay, Latin snippets, and all manner of flighty lexical indulgence. The plot is Moss-thin: a writer has an affair with an attractive woman whose arse he admires. Thus begins a novel that groans with cringing sexual puns and romps, a borderline sexist agenda, and an almost intolerable series of staged comedic dialogues that go nowhere. This technique condenses the long-winded indulgence in similar novels of the 1970s, making it harder to soup through than a horny Roth or a panty Updike. Original and fun nonetheless.
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