Paul Bryant's Reviews > Wittgenstein's Mistress

Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson
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Nov 23, 12

bookshelves: too-avant-for-my-garde, novels
Recommended for: anyone with a rodent infestation

Beaten senseless by the author's large brains I slumped to the ground. When I awoke I found rats had eaten the rest of the book and they had all died with uncanny expressions of horror on their little furry faces. I wasn't disappointed. This novel was a little too avant for my garde.
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Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Carolyn I completely agree, and I wish, oh, how I wish, that rats had eaten my copy before I wasted good and valuable hours of my life reading it.


message 2: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Bryant Thanks. There should be a club for people who get taken in by effusive critics again and again, like me. But I ain't reading Tree of Smoke!


message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I want to read it, but I am charmed by your review and their furry little faces!


message 4: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Bryant The rats were good critics!


David Katzman I loved this book. I guess that just goes to show you how weird i am.


message 6: by John (new)

John Guys, I loved the book; it expanded my awareness of the utter futility of all our striving, always a useful & entertaining business. But I appreciate the spirit of your response: "Thanks, but no."


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I'm planning to read it!


David Katzman two 5s, two 1s; now that's polarizing!


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica very original work is often polarizing


message 10: by Miriam (new)

Miriam


message 11: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Lander Wonderful review :-) I do still intend to read the book and hope I like it but I'm glad to have been reminded that it's ok not to!


Moira Russell I am sad you didn't love this like ice cream, but 'too avant for my garde' is awesome.


message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Bryant well I think experimental or unusual literature is like comedy which you get or don't get, or like Captain Beefheart or free jazz or Jean-Marie Straub films, you know, out there frolicking at the edge of coherence and I do love a small amout of this stuff, and I am a fan of Ulysses which has an experiment-per-page but I didn't get this one.


Moira Russell Miriam wrote: "[image of little rat]"

//chokes on tea


Moira Russell Maybe it's also partly like I said to Sean - Kate as a narrator is very icy, detached, obviously dissociated in grief. People go on and on about "unlikeable" characters (faugh) but even a character like Dostoevsky's Underground Man is gripping -- hell, some people even find Rabbit Angstrom sympathetic. Or Holden Caufield. But this book is really deliberately abstract, a lot of it (I thought) was about art and creating art, and how artists use creating as a substitute for human contact, and so on. It was very Symbolic, not in a "Oedipa's search for truth is like our search for truth in the novel" way but like dreams are symbolic, or certain films -- like when you "see" your father in a dream but know he's really dead, or a black cat is really your father, or whatever. I think the whole book is like that, and about that, deliberately (not for nothing is Kate a painter).


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Moira wrote: ... but even a character like Dostoevsky's Underground Man is gripping -- hell, some people even find Rabbit Angstrom sympathetic. Or Holden Caufield. ...

Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground is so full of humor, albeit black humor, that his narrator is endearing, yes--


Moira Russell Jessica wrote: "Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground is so full of humor, albeit black humor, that his narrator is endearing, yes-- "

Yeah, I quite adore him. I do not have a bad boy thing He's so eloquent in his loathing and misanthropy, he's sort of like Richard III, whom I also adore. maybe a tiny bit of a bad boy thing


message 18: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Bryant the rat is very good (thanks, Miriam!). As often with experimental novels, my eyes are bigger than my little tummy.


message 19: by Angela (new)

Angela What actually is the 'reality' of Kate's predicament? I'm guessing she's not really the last animal on earth? The materialist in me wants to know.


message 20: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Bryant perhaps a question to be directed towards someone who managed to finish this...!


message 21: by S. (new) - rated it 3 stars

S. I concur with skepticism on this opus. Markson may be the post-modern set's darling but what is this other than a solitary old man's feeble attempt to assume a female voice? Same machine gun didacticism of Markson but without even charm of Last Novel


message 22: by S. (new) - rated it 3 stars

S. @Angela I think the ambiguity deliberate. Narrator is actually last remaining human or she's a batty old rent controlled apartment dweller in NYC


message 23: by Mara (new)

Mara "too-avant-for-my-garde" has to be one of my most favoritest shelf titles of all time.


message 24: by Rory (new)

Rory "Beaten senseless by the author's large brains I slumped to the ground."
Perfect.


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