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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too dense, best read individually, 6 Jun 2010
This review is from: Company / Ill Seen Ill Said / Worstward Ho / Stirrings Still: WITH Ill Seen Ill Said AND Worstward Ho AND Stirrings Still (Paperback)
The pieces here are dense and intense meditations on life and death. Built using sparse and hypnotic prose they are rightly regarded as classic studies of death.

Written over the last decade or so of Beckett's life they all discuss similar ideas and themes, they return again and again to the same motifs.

The hypnotic nature of the text, the use of repetition and the way in which Beckett plays with syntax make these powerful and distinctive works individually.

Company features an unnamed narrator in a dark room pondering words and history and memory, Ill Seen Ill Said presents an old woman dying in a cabin watched by mysterious sentinels. Taken apart they are masterful pieces of literature, put together, along with Worstward Ho and Stirrings Still, they become so dense as to be impenetrable.

It is understandable why the editors chose to do so; these pieces are thematically similar and they represent his last important prose works.

And this could be my failings as a reader, but collected like this I felt the individual stories to lose much of their power.

Company taken on its own leaves quite an impression. It is distinctive and unique in its use of language. Taken as a companion piece with the other writings here it doesn't seem as special somehow.

There is no denying that these are important pieces of literature, they are landmark musing on the nature of death. I am not and cannot deny that. But if you are going to buy this book then treat them as separate entities, in my opinion it renders them much more emotionally vivid.
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Location: England

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