‘The wayward few, as I call them, take for their subject-matter scenes and events never reported in any fictional text but likely to have taken place in the vast zone of possibility surrounding not just every page but the merest sentence on that page. And the mental space that I mentioned just now extends so far in every direction from every fictional text that the wayward ones, as I call them, are able to write as though the content of many a seemingly separate fictional text adjoins, or is entangled with, the content of many another such.’
From Gerald Murnane’s A Million Windows, p. 23
It might be that no one writes about the virtuality of fiction better than Gerald Murnane. I don’t know his work sufficiently well yet. The absence of wide acclaim is unsurprising, these quirky fictions are not the stuff of the mainstream. This is writing for the wayward few. His distinctive, idiosyncratic style, beyond its stylistic signature, seems utterly sui generis. I understand better what fiction does to me (for me?) for reading Murnane.
It’s such a coincidence to see this post – I have just finished typing a comment on another blog about Murnane’s Border Districts, which I started briefly last year but did not have ‘proper’ reading time to devote to it then. I am looking forward to picking it up again, and your post suggests I may well be reading his work more widely. 😀
It seems that Murnane’s work divides readers’ opinions, which doesn’t surprise me. His voice is singular and will appeal to a limited audience I am sure. I read him originally about eight years ago, but it didn’t click at that time, but now I am drawn to his writing and his way of describing the nature of fiction and writing.
I am finding increasingly, as I get older I think, that I am drawn to this kind of writing.
Yes, I suppose age may play a part, but more, in my case I think, what I have read before. When I last tried Murnane, I had not read, for example, Maria Gabriela Llansol or Mircea Cărtărescu. Both writers changed how I perceive fiction, writing, and in some ways, the world.
Fascinating – I’ll have a look at those two authors.
I’m already beginning to contrast Murnane with certain works I’ve read by Grac, Buzzati, Stegner, and Sebald. Trouble awaits!