Fare Forward



powerHouse Books, Spring 2014

Purchase through:
Barnes & Noble

“In 2003, the poet Laura Sims wrote a gushing fan letter to the experimental-fiction writer David Markson. (“‘Perfect’ is the one word I would choose to describe your work as a whole,” she wrote.) Fare Forward, a new book, collects Markson’s side of their ensuing correspondence, which continued until 2010, when he died at 82.”
New York Times Book Review

“Readers familiar with the late novelist’s work will find much in these pages; but even readers with only a passing familiarity will be rewarded.”
Publishers Weekly

“Sims’ book is a poignant testament to a sort of friendship the Internet has obsoleted.”
The Chicago Tribune

“In this, the letters come to resemble the aphoristic prose of his late fiction. They are terse and yet open-hearted, immersed in cultural marginalia and yet deeply personal. They are both mournful and dryly funny. Like his heroine Kate, Markson fully inhabits his solitude and yet can’t help but yearn for human connection.”
Rain Taxi Review of Books

“Few though they are, the welcome publication of these letters means that we can once more enjoy [Markson’s] presence and hear a familiar voice. As Beattie says: ‘Just because they’ve died, those writers don’t disappear.'”
The Winnipeg Review

“An intimate, lively portrait of Markson through short letters, Fare Forward is a perfect companion to Markson’s books and a moving, spare chronicle of the last few years of his life.”
—Brian Evenson

“Oh how beautiful to hear David Markson’s voice one more time, off-hand, casually erudite, vulnerable, engaged, open, humble. These letters provide a precious glimpse into the way an extraordinary writer moved through the world. It gives us fragments of the sensibility he used and transformed into his life’s work. There is such poignancy here, as he grapples with solitude, or the passing of time, or the re-election of George W. Bush, or finding a new form for his next novel in the last years of his life. There’s so much heart and soul there…Fare Forward brings back the man, intimately and with great immediacy and I am deeply grateful for it, every word. Thank you Laura Sims.”
—Carole Maso

In this first-ever book of letters by novelist David Markson—a quintessential “writer’s writer” whose work David Foster Wallace once lauded as “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country”—readers will experience Markson at his wittiest and warmest. Poet Laura Sims shares her correspondence with him, which began with an impassioned fan letter in 2003 and ended with his death in 2010, finally allowing a glimpse into the personal world of this solitary man who found his life’s solace in literature.

The letters trace the growth of a genuine and moving friendship between two writers at very different stages; in them we see Markson grapple, humorously, with the indignities of old age and poor health, and reminiscence about his early days as a key literary figure in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1950s and 60s. At the same time, he sincerely celebrates Sims’s marriage and the first milestones of her career as a poet. The book is full of engaging commentary on life, love, and the writing life.

Markson reveals himself to be casually erudite, caustically funny, lovably cantankerous, and always entertaining. This volume marks a significant contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Markson’s indubitably important and affecting body of work and will be a delight for his longtime fans as well as those just now discovering him.

copyright © Laura Sims 2017 / website by Noah Saterstrom