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Molloy Paperback – January 12, 1994
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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?Read more ›
Sentences like “What was God doing with himself before the creation?” just scream at you to TURN THE PAGE and READ MORE BECKETT!
Excellent characterization. Fast pace, so much SUSPENSE! Just look:
“But it is useless to dwell on this period of my life. If I go on long enough calling that my life I'll end up by believing it.”
Don't DWELL, buy it now!
Molloy's reason is abnormal from the outset of the novel. He does things without knowing why; he constantly questions himself back and forward without reaching a conclusion as he sees no objective basis for selecting one option above the other. Molloy is driven by the purpose of finding his mother, but has no reason for doing so and no idea where she currently is.
Through the character of Molloy (and later Malone) Beckett points to the absurdity of action without objective morality or purpose: that reason after the death of God in European society is stranded without a final goal for action. We chase goals that have no fundamental purpose and there is no overarching goal that can truly be said to be a rational foundation for action. In this state of affairs, we either end up psychologically paralysed or we make decisions for no solid reason apart from that life demands action.
The second half of the book follows Malone. At first Malone strikes the reader as a man that is extremely rational and is driven by first religious beliefs. He is horrendously hypocritical and ambitious, but unlike Molloy he makes decisions for a reason and therefore has a kind of internal consistency. However, as the book progresses Malone begins to buckle under the unbearable weight of the expectations that he places on himself and others and the absurdity of life.
Malone is sent by an organisation to find Molloy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading this book is a haunting experience. It is difficult, littered with insane ramblings and twists but also wonderful literary moments. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Neil Brown
How could I presume to review this Moebius strip of a book, a bizarre chronicle of futility and human ridiculosity, in which a mad mother-beating hobo is pursued by a mean... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Peter Tucker
Beckett is a favorite author of mine and Molloy is one of his best books. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking to get drunk on language and have some great laughs as well. Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Ellen Archer
Often overlooked as a novelist, Samuel Beckett, as evident in "Molloy", the first and best part of a trilogy, deserves to be hailed as one of the twentieth centuries most... Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by PuroShaggy
MOLLOY is a 1956 novel by Samuel Beckett often seen as the first volume in a trilogy with MALONE DIES and THE UNNAMEABLE, all three books being rambling first-person monologues... Read morePublished on December 7, 2013 by Christopher Culver
And Beckett is the second greatest prose writer Ireland has produced. Molloy is brilliant. As are Watt, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Endgame and the nonpareil Godot.Published on May 14, 2012 by Ron DiCostanzo
Had to read this book for a class. I ended up liking it and keeping it. Make sure you have time to think about it as you read though, not a light book.Published on November 3, 2011 by sbnick
In some ways, it might be better just to let this novel explain itself, as it's completely meaningless to discuss "plot" or maybe even "purpose. Read morePublished on June 7, 2010 by K. Floyd