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Watt Paperback – June 16, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144485
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,427 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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And laugh-out loud funny.
PuroShaggy
From this commonplace beginning, Samuel Beckett weaves a most uncommon tale that can perhaps only be accurately described as...well, Beckettian.
Mark Nadja
Watt's characteristic action is to consider every possibility in every situation, and every possible combination of possibilities.
Q

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Hovig on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Watt" is the hilarious story of an itinerant character who walks one day from a train station, like a homing pigeon, straight to the home of a man whom he will serve. He enters the kitchen to take his spot, whereupon the present kitchen worker issues a rambling monologue of stunning length and baffling content, then leaves the household for Watt to stay behind. In the first few pages, we are already asking: Why did Watt just show up? Whose house is this? Who is this man in the kitchen already? Why is he delivering this major dissertation? What does it all mean?
The rest of the book concerns Watt's service to the master of the house, some of it conventionally narrated, much of it digressive and odd. To explain this book, however, is to sound ridiculous. A certain number of things happen to Watt, he takes a certain number of actions, he engages in a certain number of conversations, and he ends the story in the book in a certain meaningful fashion. The entire story is told in Beckett's trademark effusive style, a rollicking, bizzare, but highly entertaining profusion.
The meaning of the book is also classic Beckett: Don't wait for Higher Meaning, because there is none. All his books portray absurd characters doing absurd things, waiting for life to reveal itself, but ultimately realizing that life reveals itself through the living. To answer the questions posed above, the book is compsed like a circle, just like life. At the same time, it's also completely meaningless, just like life. We go to some place, we stand in some position, we engage with some people, we commit some acts, we turn and commit other acts, and we engage with some other people. Somehow, among all this ballet, the world still turns, and we still live upon it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "renton_bagges" on September 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I can't go along with this being one Beckett's more difficult novels, or for completists only, and not just because it's my personal all-time fave rave. From a biographical point of view, Watt marks the point where Beckett pretty much threw off the influence of Joyce, but before he self-consciously turned himself into the anti-Joyce. This brief state of affairs resulted in a fantastic, hilarious book that has everything - semi-vigorous ambulating, crack-up dialogue and rock-throwing action! This is Beckett's funniest work, and also contains some of his best discriptions and most memorable speeches (particularly Arsene's monologue), and is one of the easiest to read (allowing that Dream/More Pricks and Murphy are a tad insufferable, and thus a bit of a slog).
The impression that Wattis difficult may stem from the idea that there is some enlightenment within the text that the hapless reader is obliged to decode, deconstruct or otherwise deduce, but the book is more likely a dramatization, and an inflicting, of confusion. If this is found acceptable, the book is an intense pleasure to read and just maybe exceeds the Three Novels in this aspect.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Warren P. Reier on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a joy! Beckett's wonderful English prose, his humanity and sense of humor, shine forth on every page. After forty years and many rereadings, it has only grown on me--the jokes still amuse, the writing is still glorious, the message still enigmatic and profound. This is one of those seminal books that sustain and hearten you, that reawaken your love for suffering humanity. There's no one like Beckett, and nothing (except the trilogy) like "Watt". Buy it. Verbum sat.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Q on October 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel is SO funny! I know it's an avant-garde masterpiece and all, but it's also hilarious. I guess if we read it straight, we would have to conclude that the protagonist, Watt, is schizophrenic, along with the narrator also, probably. The characters are not realistic. Plot actions seem completely random and unmotivated. Watt's characteristic action is to consider every possibility in every situation, and every possible combination of possibilities. There's one part that had me laughing out loud. Watt is some kind of minor servant in a household, and his orders are to feed the leftovers to the dog. But there is no dog! So Watt dreams up all these far-fetched and absurd schemes for finding a dog to feed the leftovers to. I couldn't stop laughing, but my friends say I have a weird sense of humor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
To a house in the country comes an enigmatic man named Watt to take the place of an outgoing servant in the household staff of a man equally enigmatic, Mr. Knott. From this commonplace beginning, Samuel Beckett weaves a most uncommon tale that can perhaps only be accurately described as...well, Beckettian.

Watt is of that distinctive tribe of shabby, decrepit, stumblebums who are regularly featured as "heroes" of Beckett's work. In the case of the present novel, Watt becomes obsessively preoccupied with the habits, duties, and peccadilloes of the other household staff and, in particular, of his erstwhile new employer, the aforementioned, Mr. Knott. Clever how Beckett has Watt--a cipher himself--trying to decipher another cipher, Mr. Knott. To Watt, his employer, who he eventually comes to dress and undress, remains an elusive albeit binding mystery. But then virtually everything presents itself as a mystery to Watt and becomes the subject of long, tortured, and mostly humorous super-logical speculations that seek to take every possible explanation into account for even the most mundane phenomenon--with invariably absurd results. What you have is the literary equivalent of the old proverb of the spider who asked the centipede how it manages to walk with all those legs--and the centipede trying to explain suddenly finds he can't take another step without falling. The same sort of paralysis grips Watt's efforts to understand Mr. Knott and, for that matter, the absurdity of life in general. It's an affliction very common to characters in Samuel Beckett's work--and probably one that strikes a sympathetic chord in the experience of his most appreciative readers.
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