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How It Is Paperback – January 18, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780802150660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150660
  • ASIN: 0802150667
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906 and graduated from Trinity College. He settled in Paris in 1937, after travels in Germany and periods of residence in London and Dublin. He remained in France during the Second World War and was active in the French Resistance. From the spring of 1946 his plays, novels, short fiction, poetry and criticism were largely written in French. With the production of En attendant Godot in Paris in 1953, Beckett's work began to achieve widespread recognition. During his subsequent career as a playwright and novelist in both French and English he redefined the possibilities of prose fiction and writing for the theatre. Samuel Beckett won the Prix Formentor in 1961 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. He died in Paris in December 1989. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "elljay" on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once again, that poet of despair Samuel Beckett puts the reader through purgatory--or, in this case, an endless tract of mud, which our narrator muddles through for about 150 pages. Written entirely without punctuation, and sometimes a little obscure as to exactly what is going on, this book does not make for easy reading. It's worth the effort, though.
I almost didn't get through it myself. "Post-modern hocus-pocus," I thought sourly, as I read the first third. But it becomes oddly compelling, even poetic. Beckett's severely minimalistic style is fascinating; there's nothing in this book except the eerily dehumanized voice of its narrator, a lonely monologue that generates real poignancy. The effect is like hearing a voice from beyond the grave, and it haunts the mind like few conventionally written novels do.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Perry So on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Beckett mastered standing on both sides of the borderline between convention and experiment. How It Is, both immediate in poignancy and resistant to a straight-forward reading, is wonderful testimony to this incredible ability. What is most wonderful about How It Is, and Beckett's late prose works in general, is how the form of the works speak just as loudly as the meanings of the words, if not louder. If anyone is heralding the death of the well-wrought novel, Beckett has demonstrated a controversal but brilliant way forward. We might baulk at its strangeness, but Beckett's is a very generous strangeness, one that requires work on the reader's part but will give the reader a unique experience of what a literary work can do.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Beckett does not move past the novel: he predates it. How It Is is a work trapped in the space before language: in the "primordial mud" from which life emerges: from which suffering takes shape. Our Reader from Philadelphia, has only jargon with which to approach a form of literature which can not be read, but experienced, sensed as the torment of having begun.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By caramelizeme on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've always thought Beckett's prose has been the treasure of his oeuvre. Beyond his meticulously structured plays or his mysterious narratives, his prose work stands out as solitary entities. Perhaps that's the best way to put it in describing a "novel" like this. He has created a new being, divested of character and author. At most, it's a meditation on all things known and unknown, directly looking inward, reflecting whatever gloss there is on the mirror of what we are (or think ourselves to be), and then seeing beyond that. And yet, one can barely decipher a line of thought, a passage through which all mortals go, a journey. In our days, it's rare for a simple book to do that. Beckett gives himself the liberty of living in the land of illusion, constructed only by language. In doing so, unveiling the fabric of consciousness to its- i'd hate to say it again- primordial essence (if there is one). For all those who love to ask questions, the stream of questioning is multiplied in this perilous work. Hardly will you reconsider ever having been in a state of internal crisis.

Thank you, Samuel Beckett
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ross James Browne on March 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
_How It Is_ is another challenging, far-out epic by Samuel Beckett. Beckett pushes the far outer boundaries of what can be accomplished through literary fiction. _How It Is_ brings us to the most remote frontiers of artistic consciousness, pioneering new ground into the furthest reaches of the human mind. Join us for this epic voyage into the mind of a profoundly disturbed genius.
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More About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He was educated at Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1927. His made his poetry debut in 1930 with Whoroscope and followed it with essays and two novels before World War Two. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn't published in English until 1954. Waiting for Godot brought Beckett international fame and firmly established him as a leading figure in the Theatre of the Absurd. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Beckett continued to write prolifically for radio, TV and the theatre until his death in 1989.

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