on 10 October 2010
One suspects Cronin had a few small axes to grind with old Sam, but once they were sharpened and he was happy, the man offers a view of the writer more personal and humanising than 'Damned to Fame'.
The writing is intelligent, literary, as you might expect. Where Damned to Fame dwelt rather to much on the endless comings and goings between theaatre groups of Beckett once he was famous, with little real development, Cronin conentrates more on his youth and home life, returning to these images and associations over and over, a design to ensure his family relationships becomes the centrepin of his creative life.
I was left with more understanding of his writing, something 'Damned to Fame' did not do for me. Particularly regarding the close association between his later texts and his own real childhood, his father and mother and the surrounding coutryside of Dublin and Foxrock.
It's well worth a read if you are at all enchanted by Master Beckett, and are able to ovelook the onanistic portrait Cronin favours.
on 9 November 2001
Anthony Cronin has delivered a thorughly readable, entertaining and exhaustive account of the life and career of possibly the greatest playwright of the twentieth century. Filled with fascinating anecdotes, plus helpful and informed opinions regarding the ambiguities of Beckett's work, this autobiography is ideal not just for those familiar with Beckett's plays and novels, but also for those looking for an introduction to the man's often very difficult works. A marvellous read - long but totally absorbing.