— Philip Roth, Exit Ghost
— Roberto Bolano, “Literature and Exile”
— Leo Tolstoy, “Alyosha the Pot”
Anonymous asked: Your Q about Beckett's books: I'd say the characters are more pronounced in Molloy than Godot, but not in Malone Dies. Molloy in particular is fascinating. He has this great combination of wit, absurd humour and poetic observation. He'll over-analyse things bizarrely so that you laugh, make you doubt his memory, then follow it up with a genuinely poetic remark. Part II is Moran's monologue, a detective looking for Molloy. He didn't intrigue me like Molloy, but stick with it: the end bent my mind
Thanks! I should check out the novels; perhaps I haven’t given Beckett a fair shake.
Anonymous asked: Did you like Beckett's Endgame? I read Waiting for Godot and Molloy. I thought Molloy was excellent, Waiting for Godot less so, but still good. Malone Dies is boring me quite frankly. It's nowhere near as intriguing as Molloy. I must be missing something.
I have mixed feelings about Beckett. I read Godot and Endgame years ago (I had to reread it for class). But I’ve only read his plays, never actually seen one staged. I think it must be a totally different experience. When I read them, they usually seem funny, almost vaudevillian. A depressed Marx brothers, maybe. This must have more to do with me and my own ability to ignore ponderousness than the plays themselves, because when I try to look up adaptations on YouTube, I find them unwatchable. See for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb6cEPtp2Lg&feature=related
Completely different than I imagined it. None of Groucho’s speed: everything is so slow! (Compare it to this, which is how the material should be played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsw9jYU_rJI) Theatrical pretension hangs on everything; everything is so ponderous. Perhaps this is different when you see it staged, but I imagine it would only be more theatrical.
I care about art that has characters. I’m willing to overlook shallow characters when it’s for humor (see Dickens), but I don’t see much value in this kind of art, which takes itself so seriously as Art. I care about character, not Beckett’s minimalism or bleak little ideas.
I’ve never touched Molloy. Is this how he writes novels as well? If it’s different and less minimal than the plays, I might have to give him another shot.
The Street - Ann Petry
half of Hooking Up - Tom Wolfe
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Group - Mary McCarthy
The Armies of the Night - Norman Mailer
Endgame - Samuel Beckett
Day of the Locust - Nathanael West
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin
…and a bunch of articles and theory stuff and religious books for class. This is considerably less interesting than all the Russian novels I was reading this time last year.
— Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust