Steve's Reviews > Wittgenstein's Mistress

Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: lifetime-favorites

LONG overdue for a reread.
12AUG12. Someone read the foregoing five-word review and told me "Long overdue for a REVIEW!" which flummoxed me a bit because I thought I had at least jotted a few thoughts in here. Not only had I not commented here (apart from the reread comment), I haven't commented on my personal page! What the hell damn guy! W's M is on my list of lifetime favorites, and yet now that I've sat down to write I find myself glaring into an empty "What did you think?" box. Why was Wittgenstein's Mistress so entrancing to me?
     The phrase I keep hearing in my brain voice is "this poor woman."
     I think her name is Kate.
     I read somewhere that Markson's manuscript received over fifty rejections before Dalkey published it in 1988.
     A singer named Roger Dalkey once sang a song called "The Seeker" which is sort of what Kate is.
     Either Kate is the last person on earth, or simply believes she is. Either way: this poor woman.
     It's possible I was wrong about the singer of "The Seeker."
     Other characters in other stories I have read have been as forlorn as Kate, but not many. Hal Incandenza comes immediately to mind.
     It is possible to be surrounded by friends and family but still feel forever alone.
     Kate is not surrounded by friends and family.
     I'm now 99.99% sure that Roger Daltrey sang "The Seeker." You can probably look that up.
     My daughter says "forever alone" is some kind of weird internet cartoon, but it reminds me of Kate.
     And now good heavens.
     I'm getting a lump in my throat just remembering her. Remembering a fictional character in a book I read over a decade ago on a whim after a writer I liked recommended it.
     The phrase reminds me of Kate. Not the cartoon.
     And now I want to go reread that book right now.
     Jalen Kingg is another character that also comes to mind for markedly different reasons, as does the entire town of Isaura, MO.
     Her house, is what Kate was seeking, if memory serves, among many other things.
     Speaking of memes, I cannot believe I'm leaving that cheesy Frisky Dingo reference in this review.
     It now occurs to me that while memory does many things in addition to serving, the point I was making is that Kate is seeking many other things.
     The "What did you think?" box is now startlingly full. (Not Ian Graye full, but still.)
     Did I mention that someone liked this review when it was just five words long?
     Someone liked this review when it was just five words long. I somehow doubt he/she will like it now.
     Where I read that Markson's manuscript received over fifty rejections was in a book called Wittgenstein's Mistress; the second paperback edition (May 1995) has a very cool afterward by Steven Moore.
     Steven Moore knows something about another manuscript.
     Jena Maloney played the spunky girl in Vacation who knew she was the best French kisser because her dad told her so.
     I do not know why I just thought of that, or wrote it.
     The things one remembers.
     Fifty-four rejections, to be precise.
     I am almost sure I have misremembered the name of the actress who plays the spunky bimbo in 30 Rock, or the babysitter in Fatal Attraction.
     The thought of getting the tenth or eleventh rejection—let alone the fifty-fourth—and being undeterred.
     Markson's cultural namedrops are WAY more erudite and tasteful than mine.
     The irony of Ian Graye liking a five-word review.
     Things Remembered is the name of a store where I once bought a tchotchke, but I didn't call it a tchotchke when I bought it because I hadn't learned the word tchotchke until I heard one of Spalding Gray's monologues, I'm pretty sure.
     Jane Krakowski, I'm pretty sure, is not a poor woman.
     Things Remembered and Spalding Gray are far more erudite and tasteful than Frisky Dingo and Cousin Vicki. One hopes.
     And now it seems to me that the "What do you think?" box is probably more than full enough.
11 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Wittgenstein's Mistress.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 24, 2000 – Finished Reading
August 18, 2008 – Shelved
December 1, 2010 – Shelved as: lifetime-favorites

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye LONG overdue for a REVIEW ;)

message 2: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye LONG overdue for a LIKE ;) (which I've now remedied)

message 3: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye Oh, and this is a brilliant review.

back to top