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Molloy Paperback – January 12, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Beckett Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Hearing this, you at once realise Beckett's crisp prose is ideally suited to the audiobook medium. In first person narration we hear Molloy is first seeking his mother, then, in the second section, being pursued himself by Moran, a private detective. Yes, we are on familiar Beckett territory, yet this early work raises not only questions of being and aloneness - it is also richly comical. A great introduction to Beckett before venturing into his later, darker works. --Bukowski on Bukowski zine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 12, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802151361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Molloy" is the best of the Beckett trilogy, the whole of which has been sadly ignored by readers in lieu of the (inadequate) texts of Beckett's plays. In summary of the "plot" of "Molloy" I prefer the critic who calls it "a grim revery of empty progress through time and space." The book is a glory. Playful within its leadenness, parodically plotted, it is the perfect and ultimate expression of everything in human experience unencompassed by joy, light, hope, and faith. What remains, however,is, nevertheless, humanity, warmth and...the darkest, keenest, most mordant utterances ever set to the page. Let readers not be deceived by the note that the book has been "translated" from the French. This is a masterpiece of the English language, translated by Beckett himself, who was generous enough to let a youngster have a byline. If it really is better in the French, they sure are lucky.
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Format: Paperback
Molloy
Samuel Beckett
Published in French 1947
Translation by Patrick Bowles in collaboration with the author 1955

I have a theory that people label books "difficult" primarily so that they can feel special for having read them. We want to feel proud of ourselves. Understandable, I suppose, but the shame is that other people believe us -- and then are scared to take down the books we've put on the lofty pedestal marked "difficult books".

That's terrible, especially since many of the books labeled "difficult" just require a little more time, a change of perspective or attention - they are not as much "difficult" as they are "different". Molloy, for example.

I'll let everyone else rhapsodize brilliantly on Beckett. You can. My humble intention is to is entice a few more people to read this book, a few people who might otherwise feel intimidated. C'mon. Give it a try. Risk it. Don't surrender Beckett to the sole custody of the beautiful people.

A little advice, if you decide to read Molloy, despite feeling somewhat in over your head:

First, and perhaps most importantly: you must ignore the slight panic that arises the moment you notice that the second paragraph is 84 pages long and proceeds without a break. Ignore the voice (if it is present) that say that you by no means have brain power sufficient to the task, that books of this sort are only for persons who have doctorates in literature and wear all black and subsist on thin cigarettes and espresso, and are unbearable.

The reason to read Beckett isn't because he's the chief exhibit in the museum of existentialism. Molloy is fun, and above all funny, and, if it is the very blackest humor - well, what could be better suited to the times?
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Format: Paperback
Having disposed of the third person narrative in Watt, Beckett focused on the difficulties of articulating personal experience in the first person. Beckett is disengaged from the narratives of Molloy by giving them to the character's to write, but is present throughout the text because he doesn't have the answers to give to the characters to explain who they are and what they are to write. The structure that results is an empty frame in that it considers one explanation for a historical occurrence as valid as the next. The space in which Molloy exists is highly ambiguous and therefore the language he uses to narrate does not provide any comfort at all, but aggravates him to the point where he can extract no meaning at all from his existence. Moran begins his narrative in an ordered space and so many of the statements he makes at the beginning are simple, declarative and create a comfortable area for him to inhabit. This is where Beckett finds it necessary to impose the structure of a genre model, but it is only the proposition of a detective plot because the "case" isn't carried out in any intelligible fashion. Moran's task to find Molloy eventually becomes clear to be only an internal one. A separate physical being called Molloy may very well exist within the story, but numerous cross-connections between the characters of Molloy and Moran are illuminated in the structure. This is seen in the similarity of their names and the manner in which Moran takes on many of the characteristics of Molloy. For example, they are similar in their physical disintegration, lack of understanding for their environment and complex internal processes of reasoning which leave them with no clear understanding of reality.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This is a fabulous dramatic interpretation and realization of Beckett's greatest novel (really two loosely connected monologues). The actors are superbly in character and have the appropriate voices to convey the self-satisfied bewilderment of Molloy and bewildered self-satisfaction of Moran. It's a fitting cliche that this Audiobook brings the novel vividly to life. My only quibble is the recording quality, which is good, but does not attain Naxos' highest standard of transparency.

I hope people are not put off by the lengthy abstract reviews here (well written as they may be). Molloy is not a difficult read or listen as with this Audiobook. The two characters Molloy and Moran represent a character and an author more or less. In the first section we see the character Molloy has essentially escaped from any narrative and is left to fend for himself, inventing histories, goals and pondering his existence so to speak without any help from a constraining narrative. The second section, which might be thought of as both preceding and following the first section, concerns Moran who is sort of the author in the guise of a private detective chasing after his character. Naturally the similarities become apparent since one created the other. Sometimes strange things in the Molloy section, as him hearing a gong in the forest he wanders in Dante like, are revealed prosaically in the Moran section as the gong of the clock in Moran's house. In Beckett's next book Malone Dies the mask and ambiguity disappears and we see the writer explicitly spinning trite tales one after the other.
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