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on 4 July 2013
Molloy, the story of both a man travelling and a man following, who may or may not be the same person, was my first foray into the work of Beckett. Being familiar with the reputation, at least, of Waiting for God of and Beckett 's standing as an exponent of the Theatre of the Absurd I forewarned myself with the knowledge that Molloy might be a challenging read.

To my relief, reading Molloy was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. After a few pages I found my mind tuned in to Beckett 's flowing, circular narrative, which is often in the form of Molloy's circular, repetitive monologue. The introspective meanderings of Molloy, fixed on his bad leg, his bad memory, his inner voice and a troubled journey to see his mother, form the plot of the unusual but engaging first half of the book.

The second half of the book deals with an, at first, altogether different character. Again written in the same monologous style, with the reader now well and truly familiar with the style of prose, the central character becomes Moran, an agent - of what or whom is never made clear - sent to find Molloy. What Moran is to do with Molloy should he find him is never made clear, in fact, the cloudiness of the reason signals the deterioration of Moran's once meticulous being.

Moran's journey mirrors Molloy's in more ways than one, both having clear objectives - to find Molloy or, for Molloy, to find his mother - that slip away from them. Both men have difficult relationships with their close family that perhaps borders on cruelty, Moran with his son and Molloy with his mother. This narrative symmetry gradually evolves in a physical and mental similarity, which leaves the reader wondering: is Moran becoming Molloy, or has he in fact always been Molloy and the story is a retrospective of his earlier life?

The question hangs over the end of the book, which finished all too quickly, disappointing only in the sense that there was no real conclusion. The are more books in the series, which the ending of Molloy almost implores you to read.

In essence Molloy is frustrating in the sense there is no obvious answer to the questions posed in the book. However, I found the book interesting and enjoyable. Those who enjoy the teasing plots of Kafka's Trial or Camut's The Outsider should find Molloy right up their street.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 March 2011
Most readers come to Samuel Beckett through a reading of one of his famous plays. 'Waiting For Godot' in particular is a set text in many schools. The irony of this is that most of these readers go no further than the relatively approachable dramatic works, and so remain unaware of the range and difficulty of Beckett's achievements in prose. Where to start with the latter?

'Molloy', composed during the same period as 'Godot', is actually Beckett's fifth novel, after 'Dream of Fair To Middling Women' (written in 1932 but not published until 1993), 'Murphy' (1938), 'Watt' (1941-45, published 1953) and 'Mercier and Camier' (written in French from 1946 but not published until 1970 in French and in altered form in English in 1974). 'Molloy' (1951 in French) also forms the first part of Beckett's loose 'Trilogy' but does not need to be read in that form to be appreciated.

The reader who comes to 'Molloy' without any other preparation will encounter difficulties, but should persist. Beckett has little interest in the conventional presentation of narrative and plot: 'Molloy' hangs together it seems by the sheer force of will of its characters as embodied in their speaking voices. Those voices are sometimes confused, sometimes infuriatingly repetitive or obsessive. Meaning emerges cumulatively.

The novel is divided into two halves, which suggests a structure based on both repetition and mirroring. Each presents the story of a man - Molloy and Moran respectively - engaged on a journey: in Molloy's case, to visit his mother; in Moran's, to find Molloy. So far, so simple. But in both cases the task proves almost impossible to complete. Beckett drags the reader through literal and figurative forests and wildernesses in pursuit of goals that may be completely illusory, in which simple physical tasks take on obscure spiritual significance, and in which the only certainty is bodily and mental disintegration. Molloy's narrative is the wilder and more difficult; Moran's the more studied and - only apparently - straightforward. Throughout, Beckett demonstrates why he is regarded as one of the most important writers of the twentieth century - certainly the most significant in this mode since Kafka - and incidentally why he is one of the funniest, so long as your taste is for gallows humour.

A work of existentialist genius, easily the equal of 'Godot', but not recommended for the impatient. 'Mercier and Camier' or the sublime 'Murphy' might be an easier way in for the unsure.
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on 4 January 2016
This is the first novel I've read of Beckett, and although at first it wasn't easy to get into the mindset of the book, by the end I felt transformed by his writing. His brutally honest and brazen prose is at times heartfelt and serene, but it is within these two contrasting folds of beautiful and ugly aspects of his characters, where his power seems to come from. In one moment we are empathetic towards a character, and then suddenly we see an ugly truth beneath the surface, which forces us to reassess and rebalance our opinion.

The journey that both central characters take, Molloy in search of his mother, and Moran in search of Molloy, creates an almost circular narrative to events, and the reasons and implications of each character finally meeting up with the person they are after is never made clear, and likewise not achieved in any case by the end of the book. And so we are left where we began, even if somewhat in tune with the ridiculousness and inert pointlessness of time itself, and by the end the characters are left perhaps feeling that way, that a journey is as pointless as its end.
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on 14 April 2016
It's certainly more satisfactory than 'Murphy', Beckett's earlier novel, in my opinion. But it is rather a book of two halves, focusing on two separate protagonists, Molloy, and then, Moran. Both sections are typical Beckett, soaked in vigorous, agile language twisting round a meaning just out of sight. However exasperating at times, Beckett's rigorous and unstinting examinations of mundane thoughts, habits and ideas are always refreshing. There's a strange, unique brand of purity and acuity about his prose.

That said, I did much prefer the Molloy section. I found Molloy a more interesting, more complex character. And he was funnier too. Moran is stiff and unyielding and somehow constrained. Neither are particularly pleasant but with Moran there's a humourless superciliousness that just grated with me. There are a number of echoes between the two stories and one reading might argue that Moran is a younger Molloy, the facts being that slippery. I don't think it's important one way or the other, though it is fun to imagine the metamorphosis.
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on 23 June 2013
In typical Beckett fashion, this is not a book suited to bedtime reading. The wanderings and contemplations of the central character are often perplexing and I struggled to really identify with the character but there is no doubting the literary genius of Beckett. Excellent read.
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on 13 April 2015
Reading this book is a haunting experience. It is difficult, littered with insane ramblings and twists but also wonderful literary moments. Malloy is a pebble-sucking vagabond, partially crippled and insane. The prose consists of long discursive meanderings, circular musings, highlighting the lunacy lurking in the shadows of our own ruminations and unveiling the chilling proximity and the startling solace, of the abyss.
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on 7 November 2014
Few reviewers of Beckett point out the laugh-out-loud humour and ribaldry in his work but you can come to this novel - arguably the best ever written and right up there with Austen, Dickens and Dostoyevsky - confident that you're in for a rollicking time in the company of the 20th century's best wordsmith. Perhaps his "modern classic" status puts many readers in a sombre frame of mind before they begin to scan the text, all the academic twaddle about existentialism and "Deeper Meaning" inclining them to the Serious. Listen, if you pick up this stunning, superb, salacious and sensational novel (of course it is, professor) you will learn "Constipation is a sign of good health in pomeranians"; "It is useless to recoil (when social workers offer you charity), they will pursue you to the end of the earth"; how to arrange sucking pebbles in your clothing for optimum results; and that "Sex is a mug's game in the long run - and tiring." There is also a radically different classification of love, based on orifices, to which you may or may not subscribe. Ah, Molloy, you and your old ataraxy, be away with you.
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on 8 January 2015
heavy going but that is what you might expect
hard to get back to after a break
his life history helps
a bit like poetry
things do start to link up
the 'the stones 'are important!!!!!
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on 31 January 2015
Engaging, intellectually challenging; a book to have by your bedside table when you cannot sleep.
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2009
Very well read in an authentic Irish voice which brings out a lot of the nuances of the 'characters'.
Classy .
Better than reading the book as a paperback.
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