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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Malone Dies (1951) by Samuel Beckett

Book Review
Malone Dies (1951)
 by Samuel Beckett

  Malone Dies is the second book in Beckett's so-called "trilogy"- even the wikipedia page for Malone Dies uses quotes around trilogy because books one and two don't share much in common in the traditional definition of that word.  Both Molloy (first book in the trilogy) and Malone Dies share some thematic similarities- protagonists who are trapped in a single room with little or no ability to leave.    Where Molloy teeters on the edge of what you might call "post-modern" literature, Malone squarely occupies the space.

   In his most well known work, the play Waiting for Godot, he famously developed the "play about nothing."  The aesthetic principle of "de-construction"- taking apart a work of art element by element and then reconstructing it with some or all of the elements missing- is a hallmark not just of Waiting for Godot but also the three novels of the trilogy.  In both Molloy and Malone Dies there are essentially no characters or details of plot.  Prior of the publication of these works, the idea of a novel without a plot or character might be considered impossible but not after.


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