In 1988, Markson published the groundbreaking novel, Wittgenstein’s Mistress. Among his other books, he wrote Reader’s Block and Vanishing Point. His novel The Ballad of Dingus Magee was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra. This editor will always remember Markson’s two crime novels about a private detective named Harry Fannin–check out an excerpt from Epitaph for a Dead Beat at The Kenyon Review.
Here’s an inspired tribute from journalist Sarah Weinman: “Markson needed the Internet, or more accurately, vice versa, to find his rightful place in the literary world. Quotation appropriation, short declarative sentences, quick bursts with acres of thought, meditation on artists and writers at work, and a tremendous study of consciousness marked Markson’s output since WITTGENSTEIN’S MISTRESS (1988) opened with the phrase ‘In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.’ And as our collective attention spans decreased and dovetailed from mass-market pursuits, there was Markson to clue us in to something greater, more amorphous perhaps, but something that pinged the outer reaches of what he termed ‘seminonfictional semi-fictions.”