Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Review of I Can't Go On, I'll Go on: A Selection from Samuel Beckett's Work

I Can't Go On, I'll Go on: A Selection from Samuel Beckett's Work I didn't read the whole thing. I picked it up because I was saying Something Very Profound about Waiting for Godot the other day and wanted to go back and see if I was right. Like the poor stupid Vladimir, I don't remember anything from one meaningless day to the next, so I have no idea if I was right.

In those bleak twilights of pointed melancholy, I want to cry to the gray heavens GOD, Beckett is the only one who gets it! The only one! but I don't spend a lot of time there anymore. My feelings about Waiting for Godot can part-ironically, part-truthfully be summed up in this bit of dialog lifted from the play:

ESTRAGON: In the meantime, nothing happens.
POZZO: You find it tedious?
ESTRAGON: Somewhat.
POZZO: (to Vladimir) And you, Sir?
VLADIMIR: I've been better entertained.
even though I find it a lot funnier than I did when I first read it years ago. Dry as a desert corpse funny, but funny nonetheless.

I've never made a stab at his novels, because they seem hopelessly claustrophobic, full of I can't go on. I must go on's but then I am a wimp sometimes. His super short plays are where the money's at, in that they are like being suddenly stabbed instead of being slowly beaten to death. Like Breath, which just consists of a clipped sigh over a stage strewn with trash, or whatever the one is that has just the giant mouth on the stage.

I'm making this sound like I hated it, but really I love it, I just don't think reading Beckett is the kind of thing one can like.

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