Written initially in French, later translated by the author into English, Molloy is the first book in Dublin-born Samuel Beckett's trilogy. It was published shortly after WWII and marked a new, mature writing style, which was to dominate the remainder of his working life. Molloy is less a novel than a set of two monologues narrated by Molloy and his pursuer, Moran.
In the first section, while consumed with the search of his mother, Molloy lost everything. Moran takes over in the second half, describing his hunt for Molloy. Within this simple outline, spoken in the first person, is a remarkable story, raising the questions of being and aloneness that marks so much of Beckett's work, but is richly comic as well. Beautifully written, it is one of the masterpieces of Irish literature.
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"These two skilled actors hold the book together remarkably well....In audio this work takes on the full richness of comedy, probably as Beckett, preeminently a dramatist, intended." (AudioFile)
If you haven't read, heard, or seen Waiting for Godot, do so now. Then return to this additional masterpiece by Samuel Beckett. This is the stripped-down, minimalist story of one man, aged and deteriorating and bitter, but frank beyond what many people would find acceptable -- certainly this is not someone you would want to hang out with. No one can truly follow in the footsteps of Beckett in creating this kind of character and spare yet eloquent prose. There are two narrators of this book, and the first one, who is the voice of Molloy, is the best to render Molloy's music. Molloy is the first book in a trilogy, and the second has just been realeased on Audible format. I finally figured out the (perhaps obvious) significance of the three titles. In the first the main character's name is Molloy, though he sometimes forgets it. In the second the main character is named Malone, which seems to me to be basically the name of the same character, though his name has evolved. And the third, The Unnameable, is the last evolution, where the name has evolved into dust. I think that some people will just hate this book, but if it reaches you, it will reach to your core.
There were points in this narrative when I was laughing hysterically, and some when I was disgusted and filled with utter pity for our sad little man, Molloy. Beckett is unlike anybody I can think of: hilarious, disturbing, and somehow smooth all the while. I'll definitely be listening again and again to this one.
The narrator Barrett does an excellent job in this and other recordings.
I got this because it sounded challenging. I couldn't stop listening. I was inspired by the loose ends. Utter audio bliss.
"Beckett is Beckett is Beckett"
Here's a writer, playwright, persona who when first encountered in youth and vitality represents a brick wall of intractability that is the gold-standard for cool. Later life and experience, the erosion of disappointments, missed opportunities and passed chances brings Beckett back into play with the mask finally taken off. And it is wonderful, funny and life affirming to know that this little Irish guy with the furrowed face has been there before you and seen it all and written it all - yet still doesn't have any of the answers you are looking for. Mal-alloy a bad mix - but nothing bad about this one. We are lucky to have Beckett's work on stage, on screen on download - it never fails to reach out and hold you with its power, simplicity and truth.
"Circles and Straight Lines"
"Not to want to say, not to know what you want to say, not to be able to say what you think you want to say, and never to stop saying, or hardly ever, that is the thing to keep in mind, even in the heat of composition."
I'm ever so confounded by Beckett. Eluded even. His plays remain impenetrable for the time being, and from among the celebrated novels, "Malone Dies" (1951) and "The Unnamable" (1953), are closed books to me. But "Molloy" (1951) is something different altogether. It's easier to appreciate, to get into, and ultimately, enjoy the ride for as long as it goes on. It is profound, full of actual wisdom instead of mere philosophizing for the narrative's sake, and what might make it difficult is also its greatest strength: its otherworldly slumbering from nowhere to anywhere, and/or vice versa. In short, it draws attention to the act of stopping by coming to a halt itself. What it shares with Joyce is its method of existing in the moment, not before nor after, but in the very moment it is read, as if reading it somehow conjured the words onto the page.
Much of the praises in this review go to Sean Barrett, whose second nature it seems to be to interpret great authors and make it seem like he himself wrote the darn things. He's that good, and he's in his element with Beckett. Dermot Crowley, responsible for the other half, is great, as well, although it takes some to get used to the change.
Perhaps I had all I needed with "Molloy", since "Malone Dies" felt quite impossible to see through, but this one is a book I really like, yet I'm perfectly set on revisiting Beckett in the near future. I have a feeling that one day, all will be revealed, all that at this time doesn't quite seem to add up. In the meantime, I'll keep on standing on the seaside, sucking those stones. Just let me get my greatcoat.
"Great performance but the story became tedious."
Yes and no. I have seen one or two Beckett plays and thought I liked his language. However, it turns out that what works in a play doesn't necessarily work for the duration of a novel. Finding this out was time well spent but that was the only reason.
He could have made it less of an amorphous blob and structured it. That is probably very hard when you are writing a stream of conscious novel and asking me what a man of Beckett's stature could have done better is like asking me what is wrong with Tiger Woods' swing. It's just that after the first 30 minutes this wasn't the book I wanted to listen to any more.
I have to confess that I only made it about 90 minutes in so was not aware that there were two narrators. However, the narrator that I heard was absolutely brilliant. It was on the strength of the sample 5 minutes that I bought the book. The narrator had a beautiful lilting Irish accent which I could have listened to all day.
No. It would require an even greater chunk given over to interior monologue. This worked in Reginald Perrin but I think it would become too much with so little actually happening.
The stars? Maybe a younger Wilfred Bramble or David Kelly.
"Would recommend reading it! instead of listening"
This is an extremely complex book and I found it hard to just listen. Would recommend reading it, instead of listening. As context becomes more accessible when one reads it.
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