Audiobook review: Molloy, by Samuel Beckett

03/15/2007

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I have long been a fan of Samuel Beckett’s works. I first discovered him when I was in my early twenties, and soon became an avid reader of his fiction, which ranges from very short works to plays and novels. I was intrigued by the fact that this Irish author, who moved to France where he consorted with James Joyce, among others, decided, after World War II, to write in French. This prompted me to refresh my high-school French in order to read his works in the “original” language.

But Beckett’s choice of language went much further–he translated most of his own writings from French to English, and, when he later wrote in English again, translated those works into French. (Molloy is one of the rare exceptions: Beckett did not translate this novel into English on his own, but worked with Patrick Bowles, who rarely gets credit for this today.) Molloy was Beckett’s “breakout” novel, written in a style that would become his trademark: stark, minimal, even dark at times. Written in the same period as Waiting for Godot, Molloy started Beckett’s career as one of the world’s leading authors of fiction in that post-war period; it was followed by two other novels that are considered to be parts of a trilogy: Malone Dies and The Unnamable.