It’s looking like I will not finish my This Is Not a Novel Spreadsheet before I close this blog up for an indefinite period, but having gotten through better than a quarter of it, I’ll permit myself an observation and an outlandish guess.

–The observation is that, to an extent that surprises me, the “narrative” of the book is driven by the continuous appearance of new “characters”, with rather infrequent, or very rare, reappearances of the old ones. At least, of the almost five hundred “stanzas” I have so far gone through, about four hundred of them involve figures that have been mentioned only once…. (Of the figures that do reappear: I’d guess Shakespeare and Homer most predominate.)

–The wild guess pertains to “stanza” 467 (pp.49) where Markson mentions that in The Iliad 243 people die from 147 separate wounds. Right now I’ve gone through 50 pages of THIS IS NOT’S 190 pages and I have counted 96 people dying from 66 causes of death. According to my calculations, I’m not on pace for these numbers to work out (I should be at only about 64 character deaths by this point) but it would be so very cool if they did — if the same number of poets and painters and composers died in this book as warriors had in the Iliad and if they had died of as many different forms of peacetime ailments as the Iliad’s participants had of war-time ones. That is unlikely but would be quite an orchestration on Markson’s part.

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