In the first days of spring in his eighty-second year,Gerald Murnane – perhaps the greatest living writer of English prose – began aproject that would round off his strange career as a novelist. He would readall of his books in turn and prepare a report on each. His original intentionwas to lodge the reports in two of his legendary filing cabinets: in theChronological Archive, which documents his life as a whole, and the LiteraryArchive, which is devoted to everything he has written. As the reports grew, however, they themselves took onthe form of a book, a bookas beguiling and hallucinatory, in its way, as the works on which they weremeant to report. These miniature memoirs or stories lead the readerthrough the capacious territory Murnane refers to as his mind: they dwell onthe circumstances that gave rise to his writing, on images and associations, onMurnane’s own theories of fiction, and then memories of a deeply personal kind.The final essay is, of course, on LastLetter to a Reader itself: it considers the elation andexhilaration that accompany the act of writing, and offers a moving finale towhat must surely be Murnane’s last work, as death approaches.