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Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,390 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
The first novel of Samuel Beckett's mordant and exhilirating midcentury trilogy intoduces us to Molloy, who has been mysteriously incarcerated, and who subsequently escapes to go discover the whereabouts of his mother. In the latter part of this curious masterwork, a certain Jacques Moran is deputized by anonymous authorities to search for the aforementioned Molloy. In the ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published September 16th 1997 by Everyman's Library (first published 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rakhi Dalal
Sep 13, 2013 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those interested in Absurdism

Reading Beckett is not easy, since on the surface he seems to be talking of that which is rationally non existent, which doesn’t exist anywhere but perhaps in the subconscious of a mind; a mind which is set on the path of self exploration. An exploration, which is not merely to find a place, a balance with the world but rather to understand why is it that nothing makes sense or rather why “nothing” makes “perfect sense”. Can one live with this perception of nothingness and senselessness while st
MJ Nicholls
Dec 14, 2015 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing
A venomous spate of reviewer’s block has rendered me incapable of forming opinions on all novels over the last few months. So I will keep this simple. I am now a Beckett convert. The prose! The prose! Samuel, O Samuel. It has taken me some time to backslide into the charms of hardcore modernism (so accustomed to pomo as I was), but this threesome of existential novels that interrogate the thing of narrative itself (and thing of life itself) has opened me up to the power of that movement (perchan ...more
David M
Mar 28, 2016 David M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I once recommended Molloy to a boyfriend by saying it was one of the funniest books I'd ever read. I gave him my copy of the trilogy, and he made it about thirty pages.

-I really don't see what's supposed to be funny, he said.
-Well, I actually underlined the lines that made me laugh, I said
-Is that what that is? I had no idea...

My ex was an intelligent person; he had a vast knowledge of art history and fairly broad taste in books, but I fear he was hopelessly in love with beauty, health, youth.
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 12, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, collection, english
I read all the three novels and I have a copy of this book. So, I might as well add it as a read book and add a point in my Goodreads' 2014 Reading Challenge.

I liked all the three novels. Reading Beckett is totally like a different experience. I have been reading a lot and a couple of weeks back my eyes would just cry for not reason at all. The doctor and my wife both said that I am abusing my eyes by working (I am a workaholic) and reading (I am a bookaholic). So my eyes are oftentimes dry and
Dec 02, 2007 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: certain people, in particular moods
Beckett definitely gets 5 stars from me, but he's not for everyone. Nor is he for every mood - this book sat on my shelf for years before I found myself in the right place to give it a read. But once I began Molloy and realized I was feeling it, it shot to the top of my "most brilliant and personally influential reads" list. I actually cried when I was reading it because I thought it was so great, and I think about it pretty much every day. Yes, i am a huge dork. I don't think I'm as cynical or ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind-bending, breathless prose unlike anything else. Beckett's fascinating, disturbing, exhausting and droll depiction of consciousness—stripped of all outside contact and reference points by the time we stumble, benumbed, into The Unnamable—will definitely not appeal to everyone, but I found it hypnotic; even the third book, which friends (fans of the first two) had said was unreadable, drew me in with its relentless hyper-babble and I can't go on, I'll go on iterations.

There's plenty of loopin
Marc Kozak
Apr 15, 2015 Marc Kozak rated it liked it
Getting through this loosely-related trilogy of short novels was one of the hardest reading experiences I've ever had, and I'm not exactly sure if I enjoyed it, or even knew what Beckett was getting at half the time.

My interest level throughout was all over the place, as the below graphic demonstrates:

Reading this was similar to reading Proust -- I had to be absolutely ON while reading, or I'd lose the train of thought, and have to re-read paragraphs. And when there are literally 80+ page segme
Sep 19, 2014 Adam rated it it was amazing
The human Self is not an unvarying thing, not a single unity. It is a synthetic whole, a synthesis synthesizing itself from disjoint elements of perception, body, state of mind, self-consciousness. The synthesis is effected by the continuity of memory and action, by transcendental apperception of self, by one’s conscious idea of oneself, by reification in the gaze of the Other, and by a unifying conceptual framework, both one’s own and that of the social whole. In his trilogy, Beckett examines t ...more
Stephen P
Mar 15, 2014 Stephen P rated it it was amazing
This book is bigger than me. I still plan on devoting a week to going back over it and give it my best shot at doing it some justice. A seance invoking the spirit of Beckett is not out of the question.
Sep 22, 2011 Emily is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
On Molloy

Wow, what happened to the past two weeks? The last thing I remember it was two Sundays ago and I was thinking to myself, "Huh, the next few days will be pretty bus—" and the next thing I knew I was waking up in a ditch by the metaphorical tracks while a bullet train composed of book signings, broken computers, early-morning and late-evening meetings, social calls and looming deadlines, raced past my throbbing head. In the far distance, receding all the time, I could just make out the ti
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-literature
Beckett writes from the edge. The voices (and they seem more like voices then characters) that narrate these books are those of wretches occupying some dying twilight world of their own dwindling consciousness, faced with their own immanent dissolution. They are literally just on this side of aphasia and death. The prose in each of these is singular. You could recognize one of Beckett's sentences in a heartbeat. There is, to my knowledge, just no one else who writes like this, or who would want ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a long train trip from Chicago to Salt Lake City and back several years ago. It was an excruciating read, difficult, a real grind. When I finished, I felt that I had read a masterpiece of literature (I had!), but the experience was so painful that I only gave it four stars. Now, after I skim it again, the images and experience comes back in a flood, but with only a modicum of the pain. It's an incredible, exhilirating feeling, tinged with a very slight pinch. What an incredible pi ...more
May 22, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing
Each of these novels deserves its own review but there are two highly-distracting birds flying back and forth around the Columbus airport right now, and anyway the plain fact is that Beckett's human or post-human or pre-human comedy wants to be read as a single, prolonged descent. Except that the terminal station was reached with Watt, a book that pushes its audience's tolerance far further than these three. So why the pullback? Why return to Purgatory, as if Beatrice and the flower-drain of cir ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Language is a real son of a bitch. On the one hand, it's an essential part of human communication, the most common way we use to get our emotions and experiences across. Yes, there's much to be said for a visual approach, but even paintings and sculptures can be boiled down to words: in fact, there are plenty among us who dislike pieces of visual art because they don't appear to convey anything that can't also be conveyed by words. In fact, language (along, of course, with technology, but some c ...more
Ce Ce
Dec 14, 2015 Ce Ce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is your brain on drugs...

This is my brain on Beckett...

Plate from “Essai d’Anatomie” produced by Gautier D’Agoty in 1745, Paris

Upon reading the last pages, sentences, words...this is Beckett.

"Lifeblood" by Diana Debord, photography

Mar 24, 2016 SurferRosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europea
1. MOLLOY *****

Nella stanza che fu di sua madre Molloy, un vecchio ormai senza più le gambe, guercio da un occhio e con molte rotelle fuori posto, scrive senza sosta, come un fiume in piena riversa sulle pagine quello che ricorda, o che crede di ricordare, o che vuole a modo suo ricordare del viaggio intrapreso nell'ultimo anno per arrivare a casa della madre (con cui aveva una questione da sistemare). Questo viaggio durato circa un anno, Molloy l'ha condotto entro i confini di una contea grande
Mar 13, 2013 Phillip rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mad geniuses with lower back trauma
Recommended to Phillip by: some prick
(actually, i'm not reading it, but re-reading it) This trilogy is really the heart of Beckett's writing. Nearly everything he ever wrote is coded in these three novels. You can see the seeds of all the plays and the short prose in here - but in this case, it's expressed in a longer narrative, where he takes his time playing and cloying with the ideas of narrative, tearing those ideas apart as he goes along. I think this is his greatest achievement, and I'm a huge fan of the plays and the other w ...more
Aug 28, 2007 Marcus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I read this alongside an audio version, which greatly enhanced many aspects of the work.

“The fact would seem to be, if in my situation one may speak of facts, not only that I shall have to speak of things of which I cannot speak, but also, which is even more interesting, but also that I, which is if possible even more interesting, that I shall have to, I forget, no matter. And at the same time I am obliged to speak. I shall never be silent. Never” (Unnamable, 331-332)

Life, movement, and inquiry
Dec 27, 2012 and rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the reason all the philosophers/ academics are obsessed with beckett is because he perfectly describes their pathetic, obsessive, plotless existence. this was the most boring set of novels i have ever read in my life. i hate novels about people's thoughts, this was 100 times worse. i tried so fucking hard to finish the unnamable but felt like pinning my tongue to a light fixture and hanging myself would have been a better idea.


in other words, beckett did too good of a job with his stories
Mar 08, 2014 Leonard rated it it was amazing
In his trilogy, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett explores the frailty of existence.

Samuel Beckett

In the first novel, the unreliable narrator recounts his decline but through the monologue, the reader learns not so much his past as declining state of mind. From his phrases and sentences, we realize how far he has departed from reality and how little we can trust his words. And even Molloy couldn't trust his recollection of events and his perception of world. In the second part
Aug 21, 2012 Javier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose
Samuel Beckett's writing hints at a growing storm cloud, at a force that builds up underneath the surface. What starts out as word play quickly erupts into a bastardizing of the English language. And like a storm cloud, his writing carries with it an ominous quality. What Beckett does so well is present a nightmare vision of what it means to be alive, with all the mundane consequences that accompany it. His characters exude strong pathos that allows us to sense the nightmare they are borne into. ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Kenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics_novels
These go swiftly downhill. Molloy is by far the best, and I would actually recommend it. It's consistently funny and entertainingly weird. Malone Dies becomes tedious, but still has some wit about it. The Unnamable (I recognize this is by now a very old pun) is nigh unreadable. It drones on, repeating the same thoughts in pretty much the same words, for so long that you start to consider dropping whatever class you're reading it for (if it's not for class, you don't get that far in before you st ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Ellie rated it it was amazing
Like getting drunk on words in a vacuum.
the gift
well. i read it: long 2 flights, airport time between, only made it seem longer. i wanted to like it, blurbs on the copy sounded promising, i have enjoyed his plays, i was ready to do without the usual furnishings of fiction, you know, plot, character, place. maybe i am just not ready to find the humor said to be embedded in the long, long, long, pointlessness of these books. one laugh, after he discards the chewing stones… this is not enough to enjoy it. i tried to like it, but since then i hav ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Libby rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who lurve Beckett
Recipe for this book:

1 x "Play," peeled and separated
1 x "Waiting for Godot," optimism removed
1 x "Endgame," Separate Nell and Nagg from Hamm and Clov
1 x "Happy Days," stripped of humanist overtones
1 x "Krapp's Last Tape," tape replaced by pencli
1 x "Rough for Theatre I"
1 x "Not I," interrogator removed
~5 x new miserable characters

Malloy: Blend 1/2 "Rough for Theatre," Nell and Nagg from Endgame," "Happy Days," and "Waiting for Godot." Set aside.

Malone Dies: Whip "Kra
Erica Satifka
Mar 01, 2008 Erica Satifka rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Erica by: andrew
This is a very hard book to write a review of.... basically a life-changing group of novels exploring death, life, hope, absence, failure, oh so many things are discussed in these novels which come highly recommended to you by someone who is NOT a fan of Beckett's plays. (I'm going to read more of his fiction, though!) Either you'll love it or you won't and if you don't you are no longer invited to my birthday party.
May 15, 2009 Geoff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: infinite-books
Crazy. There's really nothing else like this. Just read the first section of Molloy in one uninterrupted sitting if it is possible.
Erik Evenson
Aug 11, 2009 Erik Evenson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea how to write a little blurb for these three books (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable). I can’t comment on the plots of any of the three because there really aren’t any. I can’t really comment on the characters either, as they tend to become the same person in some shape or form. And, come to think of it, I can’t comment on anything about the stories as novels at all, because, frankly, I really don’t know what I read on the page. So, what did I think of these books? Brilliant. ...more
Apr 10, 2016 joels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-molloy was my favorite, then malone dies, then the unnamable.
-molloy and malone dies "plots" were somewhat coherent, but not really coherent. hey look at that beckett sentence, maybe. idk. The unnamable lacks completely lacks any semblance of a plot.
-all 3 books features bros whose physical body was failing on them. molloy was able to ride a bike w/ one leg in the beginning and by the end he was crawling. malone couldnt leave his bed. the unnamable i think was just a pile of body or something o
Apr 25, 2013 Ipsith rated it it was amazing
In these novels, there is little or no dialogue. Malone Dies is a sombre soliloquy in which one or two shadowy characters appear; and in the other two the page is unbroken except for an occasional questionnaire. Place and time are of no importance; towns have peculiar names like "Bally" or "Hole"; the past is murkily remembered, the present non-existent, family ties are few and far between. All the characters are deformed or hideous and move in a terrifying atmosphere of rejection, abandonment a ...more
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  • بوستان سعدی
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts
  • The Man Without Qualities
  • Canti
  • History
  • Correction
  • Jacques the Fatalist
  • The Tunnel
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Grande Sertão: Veredas
  • The Book of Job
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • Man in the Holocene
  • The Sound of the Mountain
  • Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett
  • How It Ended: New and Collected Stories
  • James Joyce
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in France for most of his adult life. He wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.

Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced
More about Samuel Beckett...

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“Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining.” 58 likes
“The fact would seem to be, if in my situation one may speak of facts, not only that I shall have to speak of things of which I cannot speak, but also, which is even more interesting, but also that I, which is if possible even more interesting, that I shall have to, I forget, no matter. And at the same time I am obliged to speak. I shall never be silent. Never. ” 34 likes
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