• I'm grateful for the likes of Kundera, Murnane, Markson, Berger, and, in his recent work, Coetzee. But no matter how celebrated they are, critics still consider them askance. Elizabeth Costello, for example, is a great novel, but it got quite a critical panning when it was published. The complaint was that it was simply a book of speeches, without the machinery of conventional fiction. Markson's books are compilations of facts and alleged facts, very artfully.