Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 03:22 pm
Samuel Beckett
ISBN: 0-8021-5091-8
Publisher: Grove Press

OVERVIEW: Malloy is the first in a 3-part series often referred to as Beckett's "Unnamed Trilogy" and is believed by many to be his best compiled work. The reader doesn't quite know what's going on for much of this work, the first scenes introduce us to a character whose sitting in his mothers room; the same who's going to tell us a story on how he got there. The next appx 80 pages are one paragraph that's quite unusual and quite easy to read. It reads in the same way we might think the mind to work - jumping here and there, musing about this or that, eventually getting back to what's going on. The final part; presumably, details events prior to the intial narration. I must admit that it wasn't until I read the entire work that it all fit together for me - and quite nicely too. This is a singularly-unique writing style. The book itself was only 176 pages of closely-packed text, but a relaxing read nonetheless. Don't look for action, but you're likely to find in this an adventure - an adventure of the mind.


  • Brilliantly Written - a very unique style I've not seen
  • Currents and eddies of human thought; particulary the idle, are wonderfully illustrated
  • Just enough happening, plot-wise, to keep the reader interested while the author hits us with themes and thoughts we didn't see coming
  • Frank and gritty where it needs to be; simplistic and polite where such fits
  • Throughout, are described self-learned 'truths' of the human condition - many only very subtly
  • Entertaining editorials in character dialog (which, by the way have no quotation marks).
  • The reader isn't told all one might expect, regarding "what's going on". Oddly enough, this turns out to be part of the overall charm and appeal


  • While I understand the desired effect from no indenting (for much of the book) and only minimal punctuation, I'll confess to some eye fatigue
  • I wish I knew more of the "what happened"-parts (yes, the very same that appear to have been intentionally left out)


  • A Dead Dog and a Swearing Parrot (pp37)
  • Voices in the head and crumbling Mortality (pp41)
  • Two Fools - stay or go (pp48)
  • Knowledge of Nothing = Peace (pp64)
  • Fear of Death (pp68)
  • Go in a Circle to Stay Straight (pp85)
  • Feebleness and Mettle (pp85)
  • Internal Q&A; a Labrynth (pp154)
  • On God (pp167)

NOTABLE QUOTES:[INDENT] "Seeing how painful the sitting posture was for me she fetched a chair for my stiff leg. Without ceasing to ply me with delicacies she kept up a chatter of which I did not understand the hundredth part. With her own hand she took off my hat, and carried it away, to hang it up somewhere, on a hat-rack I suppose, and seemed surprised when the lace pulled her up in her stride. She had parrot, very pretty, with all the most approved colors. I understood him better than his mistress. I don't mean I understood him better than she understood him, I mean I understood him better than I understood her..."
[/INDENT][INDENT]"People imagine, because you are old, poor, crippled, terrified, that you can't stand up for yourself, and generally speaking that is so. But given favorable conditions, a feeble and awkward assailant, and in your own class what, and a lonely place, and you have a good chance of showing what stuff you are made of."
[/INDENT][INDENT]"And to kill time I asked myself a certain number of questions and tried to answer them... These questions and others too were separated by more or less prolonged intervals of time not only from one another, but also from the answers appertaining to them. And the answers did not always follow in the order of the questions. But while looking for the answer, or the answers, to a given question, I found the answer, or the answers to a question I had already asked myself in vain, in the sense that I had not been able to answer it, or I found another question, or other questions, demanding in their turn an immediate answer."

Note: I look forward to the rest of this trilogy - seeing how it all fits together.
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