None of the three entries in the trilogy is exactly amenable to summary. It's fair to say, though, that Molloy is the easiest to read, with at least a bare-bones narrative and an abundance of comical set pieces. In one famous episode, the narrator spends page after page figuring out how to vary the sucking stones he carries in his pockets:
And while I gazed thus at my stones, revolving interminable martingales all equally defective, and crushing handfuls of sand, so that the sand ran through my fingers and fell back on the strand, yes, while thus I lulled my mind and part of my body, one day suddenly it dawned on the former, dimly, that I might perhaps achieve my purpose without increasing the number of my pockets, or reducing the number of my stones, but simply by sacrificing the principle of trim. The meaning of this illumination, which suddenly began to sing within me, like a verse of Isaiah, or of Jeremiah, I did not penetrate at once, and notably the word trim, which I had never met with, in this sense, long remained obscure.This nutty ratiocination goes on for much, much longer, until the narrator loses patience and throws the stones away. And that's a fair encapsulation of Beckett's philosophy: he argues for the essential pointlessness of life--the solitary, wretched splendor of human existence--but does so in a comic rather than a tragic register, which ends up softening or even overpowering the bleakness of his initial premise. So Malone Dies opens with a typically morbid mood-lifter ("I shall soon be quite dead at last in spite of it all") and then makes endless comedic hay out of Malone's failure to keel over. And by the time we hit The Unnamable, we're forced to wonder whether the narrator actually exists: "I, say I. Unbelieving. Questions, hypotheses, call them that. Keep going, going on, call that going, call that on." Happily, Beckett worried these same questions and hypotheses to the end of his career, with increasingly minimalistic gusto. But he never topped the intensity or linguistic brilliance of this mind-bending three-part invention. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The trilogy stands right up there with Ulysses as perhaps the greatest work of the century.
They offer us a true, though grotesquely exaggerated, vision of life, albeit one in which there is much that is grim and disgusting.
I read it once, which was difficult enough, then read the first 2 pages of "Malone Dies" and threw the trilogy down.
I loved this trilogy more than his plays! I totally recommend this book.Published 25 days ago by Cammm
Samuel Beckett writes stylish prose in two languages but to no purpose.
Being James Joyce's secretary apparently ruined him as a writer, especially since they were... Read more
Honestly I'm a big fan of the absurdist, existential literature, regardless of national origin, and Beckett is the 2nd coming of Joyce you might say as he blows off the exacting... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim Stallings
These three novels rank among the defining literature of the 20th Century. They are excruciating, funny, and reverberant in ways that call to mind Kafka and Joyce: essential... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Berlind
I read this, no I didn't read it, no that's a lie; okay, the narrator is nuts and you may be too by the time your finished but that's the point.Published 3 months ago by Paraducks
Bought this for a college class, not my favorite author, but I still repect his work and writing.Published 6 months ago by Nicole