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4.4 out of 5 stars19
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 December 1999
Beckett, in these three novels, gives us a terrifying and hilarious masterclass in written English. Absolutely beautiful, quite indescribable poetry-in-prose. Must be read, with full attention, to be appreciated.
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on 30 August 1997
These three novels are the best of the 20th century.

They contain all the beauty, despair, and spareness that makes Beckett the patron writer of our century. They get at the core of what it means to be a self in the midst of the void, having, against one's will, a self's attendant thoughts, words, stories, and imagination. "I, say I. Unbelieving" says Beckett in the first line of The Unnamable, and you can believe him. These novels are as metaphysical as novels get, asking sincerely what it means to be. And asking just as sincerely if language can ever help us figure that out.

Each novel, with Molloy on his crutches, Malone in his death-bed, The Unnamable in his skull, is screamingly funny and cryingly horrible. Beckett's sense of the absurd and the ridiculous are only matched by his encyclopedic knowledge and overwhelming but strangely life-affirming pessimism, which helps us go on as we laugh at the world's collection of whimsies.

There are no novels better. There are few funnier. There are none containing more truth.
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on 13 November 2015
stream of consciousness grim existentialist 20th century writing. can be hard going due to the format (and lack of formatting) however it serves a literary purpose.
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on 1 January 2008
how anyone give Beckett's trilogy 1 star is beyond the limits of comprehension. It is my favourite book (especially the last installment, The Unnamable), and is absolutely mind-blowing.
It seems that both reviewers who find it unsatisfactory do so because of a gross misconception: that beckett's intention is to describe geriatric decline, or psychosis (indeed, the narrators are as far from archetypes as it is possible to be). This is simply not the case, and cruelly pigeonholes and misunderstands a work which concerns itself, really, with EVERYTHING. (oh, and if he were detailing his madness, as one reviewer seems to think, it would merely support the link between madness and genius!) As the reader progresses, all their assumptions about narrators, truth and the process of reading are undercut. reality and imagined scenarios blur, power relationships are confused...
i hope i am not making it seem grandiose or laborious (although you could never call it light reading). the texts appear aimless and digressive, but through their nothingness they challenge and inspire. maybe it's paradoxical, but through challenging all the devices of the novel form - ie plot, character, narrative - beckett creates one of the richest works i have ever read.
if this sounds too philosophical, don't be perturbed - the thing people tend to forget about Beckett is that he's actually really funny, in his sly way. i laughed out loud numerous times while reading the book. But most of all, Beckett's prose is simply beautiful. the imagining of his characters - who are delightfully idiosyncratic - are so vivid, elegiac and evocative.
So: mind-altering, funny, beautiful, and entirely unique. Sammy B, total legend. no wonder he won the nobel prize.
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on 22 November 2015
Beckett's dark comic vision finds its consummation in these three novels. If it wasn't for Endgame I would name them as my favourite Beckett. The protagonist lurches from impotence to incapacity and then into nullity .... and yet: 'I can't go on, I'll go on'
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on 4 December 2008
For anyone thinking of buying this excellent book and approaching Beckett for the first time id say that like Kafka hes a existentialist writer which means his work deals with the futility of the human condition. People often misunderstand him because he always tells you life is short and then u die, but he is also a very funny comic writer(Watt is the funniest novel ive read). He's also a very heroic writer because he explores the human condition in a contempory world of non-existents which for centurys writers deemed unusable for literature. The extraordinary static imargery in this book is derieved from his fluent knowledge in the history of painting which he also used in his plays. Becketts genius for tackling grim universal subjects in his writing is partly why hes one of the most important writers of the 20th Century.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 November 2015
For me, this trilogy moves beyond 'Waiting for Godot' and into an increasingly bleak/dark universe. Despite the growing harshness of their situations, his characters struggle hopefully onwards, aided by a very wry sense of humour about their unpromising prospects. Beckett's language increasingly reflects this sense of being 'stripped back', as each novel becomes more minimalist to reflect the character's narrowing room for manouvre.

Bleak as this all sounds (and is!), Beckett creates characters so determined to persevere, that the reader finds themselves rooting for them all the way, and celebrating their limited achievements. At the same time, the economy of the language, its minimalism & sly humour, adds a contradictory richness to the barren wastes of the setting, to which 'Waiting for Godot' might be seen as a 'golden age'.
An essential masterpiece of literature.
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on 26 September 2014
Molloy is a marvellous book, SB is a genius. It was just too much overpowering literature to move straight on to Malone Dies, so I haven't tackled the other two books yet. I have that pleasure to come.
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on 23 September 2012
I needed some of the 'Essential Beckett' works for my disserstation this unofficial trilogy was absolutely perfect, it came very quickly and in amazing condition.
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on 14 June 2014
Very possibly the best books ever. I don't go in personally for wordiness in analysing literature, and espec. not in the current case. Like buying a can of 7Up from Southam's bakery in the 70s. Transcendent. Elide time and space. Forget everythink fly.
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