"A remarkable book--several characters observe a house and its occupants, while themselves being observed. The observers are observed too, and so on. Very little happens, yet the reader is compelled to keep reading; in fact the book moves fairly quickly. Subtle hints reveal that the world of the story is slightly off. A mysterious, engaging, unexpected book."
"Unique in that it's the history of a single day. Enjoyable as a picture of the times and a snapshot of a very specific political climate that we have forgotten. The Kennedys appear in a very unflattering light, and you learn a lot about LBJ--a truly larger than life character."
"A chance to see Garcia Marquez in a non-magical realism mode (mostly). "Big Mama's Funeral" is the standout of this collection--a rollicking, joyful story that ends on a dark, brooding note that makes you rethink what you've just read."
"I thought this book would be mildly annoying and mildly entertaining. Instead I found the gradual buildup of literary references and furtive attempts at writing a story resulted in a stunning, heartbreaking climax. The best of Markson's weird little collage-books."
"A truly unique reading experience. Violent, chaotic, mesmerizing, infused with the supernatural--and I'm just talking about the writing style. The story is that plus more. Judge Holden is a character who will only grow in literary importance as time goes on."
"A funny, weird book. I loved the first half where the main character simply seethes with loathing for his antagonist. There is some amazing writing there. The second half was more bizarre, avant-garde. The story gets very chaotic and free-form, and I must admit that I basically got totally lost. Still, worth reading for that first section and the overall story arc and writing style."
"The weakest of Markson's collage-novels, but fun nevertheless. I read Markson not out of interest in his extremely self-conscious "experimental writing" style, but for his inexhaustible supply of great literary anecdotes and the peculiar obsessions of his mind."
"Borges having fun with culture and history in his trademark joyful, academic, bookwormish way. That's what I like best about Borges--he shows us that academicness, interest in dusty books and people and ideas is actually quite lively and fun and interesting. Of course the trademark Borges obsessions appear, sometimes all at once: tiger, mirror, labyrinth."
"Very interesting, a fun read. Some of these stories are so short and rely so much on a twist ending that they're almost jokes--but they elevate the joke format to the level of art. This collection will put your brain in an interesting place. (A werewolf goes to the dentist)"
"I was at the same time enthralled with the various voices in this collection and appalled at the almost too casual voice in some of them. Neverthless, a worthwhile collection, especially for the final story "Walking Bird"--a mysterious story about a trip to the zoo that will tug at a part of your heart you don't quite recognize."
"One of the greatest works ever written. Maddening, explosive, wildly experimental, and above all very very funny, this intimidating tome is actually a sly series of playful tricks and delightfully crazy situations. Go along with Melville as he breaks all the rules of narrative. Let the book carry you where it will and you'll enjoy it immensely."
"A remarkable little book from the master! A narrative voice that's different from his other work, and a story which takes you in one way before gently surprising you at the end and making you reconsider the whole thing. The most unexpectedly surprising book I read this year."
"An interesting idea, some good characters and emotional resonance, but doesn't quite hold up at the end. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to this author--as his writing matures he may produce great things."
"A joyous discovery at a used bookstore. These little poems are funny and wise and will make you think. A charming little line drawing accompanies each one. I bought and devoured all six books, and still return to them for rereading when I'm in a situation that requires a particular one. Apparently these little poems were subversive in WWII, in that sly unobtrusive way the Danes have."