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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,421 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In prose possessed of the radically stripped-down beauty and ferocious wit that characterize his work, this early novel by Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett recounts the grotesque and improbable adventures of a fantastically logical Irish servant and his master. Watt is a beautifully executed black comedy that, at its core, is rooted in the powerful and terrifying vision t...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 12th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1953)
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Think I will have to buy a copy. It will replace Wittgenstein, all existentialists, Augustine, Aquinas, T.S. Eliot and manuals on dog husbandry. Also, most economically, it will dispense with all tomes of psychoanalysis. Even though I can sometimes only read a paragraph a day, for hilarity and joy in excess can be exquisitively painful, I do believe I will also dispense with my Dhamapadda.

What a glorious piece of writing.

Ha! Just read an amazon review: "Anyone who claims they enjoy reading t...more
K.D. Absolutely
I took me forever to finish this book. I mean, somewhere in the middle, I stopped and switched to other easier-to-read ones. It was painful especially at the start because you did not know what was going on. Then last Sunday, 5th of January 2014, we had to bring my 95-y/o father-in-law to the hospital and I just did not know what came over me. Of all the books that I have in my currently reading shelf, I picked this one up. Then I had to wait for almost the whole morning inside the hospital room...more
Ben Winch
'No symbols where none intended.' So runs Beckett's oft-quoted post-scriptual warning to readers of this unique, flawed masterpiece. Apt, if useless, advice too, in a novel in which everything from the dog's dinner to the layout of the garden is already analysed and contra-analysed to infinity by its ever-questioning protagonist, who must be one of the most enigmatic (read baffling, alien, other-dimensional) characters ever to have served as the lynchpin for a game-changing work of literature. A...more
Among other things Beckett's most Proustian book: a treatise on desire or exercise of it or exorcism from it (apologies for the ripoff Wattean syntax, but that's what you get after beating your head through this miraculously-tedious book for a month). That all three of these goals are impossible to meet and Watt therefore a failure should be no surprise to anyone who keeps in mind Beckett's's famous dictum, which could sell Pepsi: try again. Fail again. Fail better. Fail at what? Well, how about...more
Catherine Meng
If I could give this 6 stars I would. My favoritist-favorite of Beckett. I reread this one quite often.
Any time someone claims to be a realist writer, I direct them to this book to show them what a "realistic" book would actually be like.
Beckett's power comes from his language. This novel is indecipherable at times, likely with the intention of being so. Of all the confusion and frustration though, two aspects make the struggle worthwhile. The first is the very rhythm and poetry of Beckett's diction. He is crass but gorgeous in his descriptions, dull but engrossing in his pacing and opaque yet straightforward in clarity. These contradictions belie the greatest aspect of this piece--it is pure empathy to his dark and nihilistic w...more
Aug 28, 2007 Lin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beckett-enthusiasts
Shelves: owned
A typical Beckett book, this one is not an easy read, but an interesting read most definately. Did I enjoy it - 'enjoy' would be a big word. It is not that I did not enjoy it at all, because I certainly did. I have always had a huge appreciation for Beckett’s work, and Watt only emphasized once again why that is. The capacity to make something very simple, very complicated, and in that way to offer a new look at things we might be taking for granted is a trait I have always admired. Yet this is...more
Vincent Abbin
When you put Watt down, you will have a headache. Several times between the moment that you pick it up and the moment that you put it down, you will have a headache. If you finished this book without a headache, then you probably didn't do it right. Surely, several options may arise at the end of the journey. Perhaps you will come out understanding what may have been Samuel Beckett's intentions in creating this book, but not the content. Or perhaps you will understand neither the intentions nor...more
Slávek Rydval
Samuel Beckett. Beckett Samuel. Chm. Tso k tomu povědět? Nitz? Ne, to asi ne, zvážíme-li možnost, že něco přeci jenom, pokud jsme toho schopni, tak můžeme, uvést.

Tso. Poslední román, který Beckett psal v angličtině a pak jej dlouhá léta překládal do francouzštiny. Původní název Watt (výslovnost shodná s What) byl přeložen jako Tso, druhá důležitá postava, pan Knot (opět výslovností stejné jako Not), pak jako pan Nitz. A byť Tso u Nitze slouží, nepadne mezi nimi jediného slova. Proč také. Otázka...more
I laughed out loud in the library. Ennoble-ing and pathetic at the same time.
Jun 23, 2007 Matthew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Go fish. I've had the same card since Wednesday.
Everett Pantaloons
Review and rating pending. That is to say that with the review so too will come the rating, and then and only then shall it come. For the review will not only inform a passerby, such as yourself, or anyone else in a similar position of misfortune, but also it will, it might, I should hope, tell me, in my own words, what it was I thought about this novel, and it is based off those thoughts that I should attempt to determine an appropriate rating of somewhere between one and five, the between of c...more
Brent Legault
The first and last chapters read like the first and last acts of a strange, sad, often hilarious, always absurd play. And in-between there is much strange, sad, often hilarious, always absurd inner and outer monologue, including loads of repetition and circumlocution and repetition.

There are pages that you'll be tempted to skip. Beckett, I imagine, offered this temptation for a reason; a reason that rests, I hope, in his grave (or in the "grave" of a rarely read book of literary criticism). But...more
Nate D
Dec 16, 2009 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: over-systematic minds
Recommended to Nate D by: Jessica and Matt N, inadvertantly
Frequently excruciating to read alone, but exactly the same passages are amazing and hilarious to read aloud. I suppose it is unsurprising that Beckett is best known as a playwright. As a novel, a couple really startling/chilling/disorienting scenes really help to jump this up from a literary oddity to a sort of illumination, probably of the human condition or somesuch. A rather perplexing piece of writing.


The odd loveliness of this 1959 cover art deserves to be noted here. Thanks, weird book...more
Dec 31, 2010 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kelly by: Dr. Carl Malmgren
Shelves: fiction
This book dismantled me. I hated it. I threw it across the room more than once. It was wonderful. I can't recommend it, but read it anyway. Maybe you'll see what I mean.
Second novel of Samuel Beckett, it represents the author’s exercises in writing and a stage in the development of writing for Beckett. The story is of Watt, a man who is traveling towards a job as servant to Mr. Knott and then his employment as Mr. Knott’s servant and then his leaving employment. Watt is obsessed with exhaustive logic. Pages are dedicated to this obsession. Beckett uses multiple unreliable narrators in this story that really isn’t a story so much as an exercise. I’ve read Waitin...more
Perry Whitford
Watt. What?
Knott. Not!

Having read Waiting for Godot many times, finding it hilarious, disturbing and always fresh, I was looking forward to reading my first novel by Beckett. As you can see from my rating, I really liked Mr. Watts stay in Mr. Knott's house, but I would have to be a masochist to say that I positively enjoyed it. For starters, I don't think it was written with anything in mind as concessional to the reader as providing simple enjoyment. However, in various cycles whilst reading it...more
Blech! Watt is a novel about the loss of absolutes, but the narrative strategies make it incomprehensible. Beckett once referred to several of his stories as “my little turds.” Well, Watt is the big freaking deuce in the bowl.

He wrote this in the south of France while on the run during the latter half of World War II as an “experiment.” I just don’t get it, but then I didn’t care much for James Joyce, whom Beckett worked for and was influenced by, either.

At least one literary scholar as referre...more
MJ Nicholls
Dec 28, 2013 MJ Nicholls marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
So long, Sam.
Possibly the most annoying book I've ever been profoundly unhappy to come to the final page of.
Michael Cross
Poor dumb Watt. Poor dumb you.
(New York: Grove Press, 1959)

The incident of the Galls, on the contrary, ceased so rapidly to have even the paltry significance of two men, come to tune a piano, and tuning it, and exchanging a few words, as men will do, and going, that this seemed rather to belongtosome story heard long before, an instant in the life of another, ill told, ill heard, and more than half forgotten. (74)

But what was this pursuit of meaning, in this indifference to meaninG? And to what did it tend? These are delicat...more
Craig Werner
Any review of Beckett's novels is as much referendum on Beckett as response to the book in question. When I first encountered his fiction in a graduate seminar, I pretty much dismissed it as an exercise in solipsism. While that's no entirely inaccurate, it totally missed the point. Beckett's not indulging, he's excavating, and he's doing it in a hilarious manner. (Nod to Hugh Kenner for the title of his book The Stoic Comedians, about Sam, Joyce and Proust.) I'm not sure I ever would have recogn...more
my first experience with samuel beckett was reading "end game" in a class that at the time i really enjoyed and after would later credit for my "renewed" interest in literature: i think that without having taken that class, and by extension of that being exposed, initially, to samuel beckett, that i would have chosen a different "path in life" and probably, rather than coming back to school ~2 years later and choosing, again, english to be the thing that i studied, done something else.

my second...more
Libro meraviglioso, il racconto di un uomo che è qualsiasi uomo. L'assurdità dell'ordinario. Il tempo che sembra non passare mai, statico, privato definitivamente della sua funzione narrativa. Le parole che perdono significato, ripetute fino alla loro riduzione ai minimi termini. Eventi che presi singolarmente non danno un quadro definito di ciò che è Watt ed un narratore esterno che diventa chiunque ma non ha nessuna consistenza fisica. Erskine è Watt e Watt è Arthur e Arthur è Micks come Watt...more
No idea how this thing got published or why, or what made me want to finish it but I'm glad I did. Very difficult to read, irrefutably post modern. I think the only way I could get into it was when I just resigned to Becket's utterly bizarre style and let him take me on his tangential, irrationally repetitive and often meaningless streams of consciousness, which made up 99% of the book. It was made partially worth the struggle on the occasions when the absolute absurditity of it made me literall...more
Michael Sanderson-green
I'm going to make a mysogynystic statement, but if I state it is mysogynystic does that mean it isn't mysogynystic or is it only mysogynystic if I'm a male and therefore not mysogynystic if I'm a female and what about the reader are they mysogynystic if the read the statement but only if they are male and not if they are female. Samuel would allow this thought process go for page after page to the point were one is tempted to skim read but then you would miss the gem hidden within . This book is...more
Took me a long time to read this one. Beckett really punishes the reader, which is fine because for the most part it's a pretty funny novel. I spent most of it shaking my head in wonder. Almost the entire thing is written in an obsessive-compulsive fever that goes on for scores of pages at a time.

However, the ending struck me as much too weak. After all the time and effort I put into keeping up with Beckett's hyper-logic prose, I expected a satisfying payoff, or at least a damn good punchline....more
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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
More about Samuel Beckett...
Waiting for Godot Endgame & Act Without Words Endgame Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable Krapp's Last Tape & Embers

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“The Tuesday scowls, the Wednesday growls, the Thursday curses, the Friday howls, the Saturday snores, the Sunday yawns, the Monday morns, the Monday morns. The whacks, the moans, the cracks, the groans, the welts, the squeaks, the belts, the shrieks, the pricks, the prayers, the kicks, the tears, the skelps, and the yelps.” 36 likes
“Personally of course I regret everything.
Not a word, not a deed, not a thought, not a need,
not a grief, not a joy, not a girl, not a boy,
not a doubt, not a trust, not a scorn, not a lust,
not a hope, not a fear, not a smile, not a tear,
not a name, not a face, no time, no place...that I do not regret, exceedingly.
An ordure, from beginning to end.”
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