This volume brings together three of Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett’s major short stories and thirteen shorter pieces of fiction that he calls “texts for nothing.” Here, as in all his work, Beckett relentlessly strips away all but the essential to arrive at a core of truth. His prose reveals the same mastery that marks his work from Waiting for Godot and Endgame to Molloy and Malone Dies. In each of the three stories, old men displaced or expelled from the modest corners where they have been living bestir themselves in search of new corners. Told, “You can’t stay here,” they somehow, doggedly, inevitably, go on.
Texts for Nothing (1-10)
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Typical thematically of most of Beckett's prose fiction--Stories and texts for nothing are made up of 3 short stories and 13 untitled variations on the meaninglessness and absurdities of human endeavor. The short stories are narrated by down and outs almost totally alienated when caught outside their immediate milieus. They are solipsistic autistic characters completely out of touch with any logic not their own. The stories are more conventional however than the texts in that they follow a timeline of event. The 13 texts are somewhat like shorter versions of his Company--musings of a ghost like being on past life--alienated as well from anything living but commenting on the confusions of human life and endeavor anyway. They have a rambling and claustrophobic effect not all that unrelated to Kafka. Some of Becketts later works seem to owe a lot more to Kafka than to Joyce--they also relate well to Thomas Bernhard. Becketts work cannot be rushed. A reader needs to take his time to be able to enjoy/or even to understand them. They have their own peculiar logic and humor. They're not usually easy reads because they take concentration but given that they can be very rewarding. They are reminiscent in some way to the great Austrian novelist Thomas Bernhard. Anyway Samuel Beckett is one of the best novelists/playwrights of the 20th and without a doubt one of the most unique ones.
Three short stories about aged men shouldered aside by society, expecting little, receiving even less, musing as they meander, forward, homeless, hoping to find some other place to rest world-weariness, all told in exceedingly spare and condensed style echoing the stark simplicity of the men's silent lives. Texts for Nothing? Thirteen condensed and compressed vignettes of thoughts from the verge between life and, well, what? Maybe already past the verge, no, maybe not yet past, maybe still coming, but without a body, well maybe with, but without motion, or maybe only brain, or not, but whence thought, maybe not thought, no, thought, definite thought, but beyond the verge, no, still can't be, no brain, maybe on the verge, but of things earlier, things remembered, no, perhaps just voices, no, life remembered, in memory without mind, no, maybe just remembered, and voices, maybe from life, into nothing, or maybe just in nothing. Texts for Nothing.Extraordinary!
It is short and enjoyable.