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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,296 ratings  ·  172 reviews
Molloy was written by Samuel Beckett initially in French; only later was it translated into English. It was published shortly after World War II and marked a new, mature writing style which was to dominate the remainder of Beckett's working life. Molloy is divided into two sections. In the first section, Molloy goes in search of his mother. In the second, he is pursued by...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Suhrkamp (first published 1951)
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Brent Legault
I had this book with me while at the beach. The beach was cold. It was mid-spring and it was New England. I stood and I looked at the sea. The sea looked grey.

First, I put the book in my front-right pants pocket. Then I took it out, transferring it to my right shirt pocket. I then removed it and put it in my left-front pants pocket. I let it sit there for a minute while I measured the waves and then I took it out and again put it into my right-front pants pocket. Then I immediately pulled it out...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 14, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Very interesting novel. Definitely hard to read but it's worth all the while. I struggled to find time to read this as there are so many other books that you don't need to repeat reading many lines because they are easier to understand. However, reading Beckett is like reading Joyce (James). The struggle makes them different. It is as if, they wanted to be different from all the rest. They wanted to give us a memorable experience that we would never get from reading easy-to-understand mainstream...more
4.5 stars
I struggled to finish this, and each time I wanted to stop I, somehow, felt compelled to read on. “Just one more and I’m putting this down,” I said to myself more than once. Molloy (both the fictional character and the book) are strange, and I’m going for an understatement here.

Beckett allows his literary cup to runneth over throughout the book. On paper, he brings chaos to life, and thus satisfies the Great God of Rambling through describing, down to the infinitesimal detail—and unapo...more
I thought a lot while I was reading this. I thought about birth and death, the body and ageing, fathers and sons, mothers and nature, duty and freedom. I believe that a book that makes me think is a great book. Full stop.

Some interesting quotes:
pinpointing one of the interesting dilemmas about writing autobiography: "...that must again be unknown to me which is no longer so and that again fondly believed, which then I fondly believed, at my setting out. And if I occasionally break this rule, it...more
Excruciating. I'm thinking about starting a shelf called Books-That-Piss-Me-off. Oh, Beckett can write. The first section (Molloy), has a weirdness that suggests great literature, and for all of Beckett's reputation for being an austere writer, he can be quite lyrical. Let's see: glimpses of Dante, especially with the position of the sun, Sophocles (I think), World War I (I think), and, being Irish-Modern, shit. Excepting the last, the others kept me going, intrigued to see where Beckett was lea...more
Daniel Stafford
What a book! Seriously…I need to read the next two within this trilogy, for I am now intrigued.

The book has two main characters. First is a vagrant named Molloy who is trying to reach his mother's place. The other is a private detective named Moran who is very obsessive and loathing.

The first part of the book is from Molloy's perspective and is only two paragraphs long, which spans for over 100 pages. In it, his legs change shape, he sucks on stones, he becomes imprisoned and let go, makes resid...more
Little did I know when I started this book on Sunday that it would loom so large in my mind. (I had started several times before, but I wasn't ready for it until now.)

The narrative is divided into two roughly equal parts, of which the first is incomparably better. It follows the peregrinations of one Molloy as he lives the life of a lowly, semi-demented (but not entirely) derelict in some Irish market town, possibly called Bally. The first paragraph is roughly normal in size; the second one run...more
Molloy is a book of little moments and large discomfort. On the whole, I'm not sure what to make of it, though judging by the number of tabs I used to mark passages that I like, I enjoyed myself along the way. The discomfort comes from the nature of the two narrators who, to me, remain separate though the case could be made for their sameness. The first, Molloy himself, is a dirty and destitute man, a creature of muck, his thoughts as stuttering as his crippled walk. The second, Moran, is an ove...more
Cuando empecé a leer ‘Molloy’ pensé que me iba a aburrir, sobre todo por la primera parte que es bastante dura; Beckett nos introduce en la mente de un tipo bastante trastornado, y eso resulta una experiencia cuanto menos curiosa y desquiciante. Pero según vas leyendo y le das una oportunidad a la historia y sigues los pasos de Molloy, termina arrastrándote en su vorágine de sinsentidos, absurdos y paranoias varias.

‘Molloy’ es el primer libro de una de las trilogías mas importantes del siglo XX,...more
Someone asked me about the relationship between the two parts of the novel Molloy. This is my answer, which feels very tautological. It's posted in other places but I'll post it here as well. Overall, what is typical of any work of Beckett is the apparent absence, impossibility, or instability of real connections: relationships are flawed and imperfect, goals are impossible to achieve, words no longer signify anything, actions are devoid of any real intent. Molloy and Moran are similar to each o...more
One of the most interesting books I have ever read, it isn't a book that you read for fun/light reading. It is a novel unlike any I have ever read because its true purpose is not the plot conveyed, as it is with most books, but rather it is about the language play within the text. As a meta-language piece it is profoundly innovative and interesting. The inter-play between french and english is in and of itself interesting, and the way that our given language relates to our self and the self that...more
One of the funniest books ever written. Unlike CATCH22 or THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK,Beckett's humour in MOLLOY is centered on his favourite modern archetypes: vapid cowards, obsessive compulsive casualties of bourgeois dominance, petty sadists and self-crippled misfits leading ordinary lives,ever obedient to the official authorities.

On the whole, I think MOLLOY is even funnier than CATCH22. IMO, a lot of the problem with reading Samuel Beckett lies with his liberal interpreters (conservatives--fo...more
It's difficult to write a review. No it isn't. What's true is that two nights ago a dog bit my hand. This is how it happened. I don't want to tell how it happened. It was St. Patty's Day and, avoiding the drunk tarts and jocks on South Street, I went home to my family (in a town I don't remember the name of) and had corn beef and mashed potatoes. My little dog got into a fight with my Auntie's dog and when I pulled them apart, I got a nice chunk bit from my arse. Which was really my hand. So it'...more
Jeff Buddle
Let's say that this review has begun. No, I do not want to say that. It is not possible to say that. It is not possible to say anything with certainty nor is it possible for this review to have begun with that sentence. A review cannot begin unless begun elsewhere. Where elsewhere? Do I even mean elsewhere? That is not for me to say. I suspect that this review is little more than a continuation. Everything continues after all. So little begins. That this is merely the next part of a review is my...more
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. Beckett examines this synthesis by...more
Motivated to read by Anecdotal Evidence article.

`The Heart Beats, and What a Beat'
Elberry comments on Thursday’s post with a choice selection from Beckett’s Molloy:

“And I should be sorry to give a wrong idea of my health which, if it was not exactly rude, to the extent of my bursting with it, was at bottom of an incredible robustness. For otherwise how could I have reached the enormous age I have reached. Thanks to moral qualities?...more
Monthly Book Group
Most found this book totally irritating and frustrating – just completely aggravating - and one reader had vowed never to read Beckett again. The book was not hateful, but it was repetitive and rambling, with no beginning or end, and nothing achieved. Its lack of structure meant it was very difficult to read in small chunks – and one member had regularly fallen asleep in trying to read Part 1 at night.

One member, who claimed the eccentricity of always finishing a book once started, found “Mollo...more

I just finished Molloy yesterday, and am eagerly moving on to the next two books in Beckett's trilogy (Malone Dies, and The Unnameable). This is my second go at the trilogy, or thirteenth depending on how you count false starts. The many years have made a difference.
I think Molloy is a book you have to be ready for in some important way--at least this is true for me. The style is daunting --one 87 page paragraph; a sharp break in scene and story, related only tenuously. I understand why some fi...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicolas Mertens
If you like Dostoevsky and James Joyce, than this will probably make you feel a tingle of literary glee. I certainly enjoyed this book, despite its being incredibly challenging.

*I do discuss some things in the book and give some quotes, but its not quite what I would call a spoiler*

The first part is three paragraphs and 100 pages (more or less based on your edition), so you can't put it down...because there isn't a spot that is confortable to put it down. The second part has paragraph breaks an...more
Adam Floridia
Section 1- Paragraphs? I don't need no stinkin' paragraphs! How about an 84 page stream of consciousness from a seemingly autistic leper who constantly needs to correct his own text because Language can NOT accurately describe reality and all literary conventions NEED to be deconstructed.

Section 2- Impressions upon starting it: Hoorah, paragraphs! Hoorah, short simple sentences. Double Hoorah, there WILL be an explanation of Molloy! Impressions upon finishing it: Boy was I wrong.

Overall- The com...more
Alex V.
I've been meaning to read "the trilogy" (Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable) for years with a couple false starts but never managed to get through any of them until now. Molloy is funny in the flattest possible way. Bike tire flat. Like, "the idea of a joke is itself a joke" sort of funny with which you can curl up for a long night of starring at the darkened wall of your empty soul. A little like a pratfall except you get to watch the damage of the fall slowly spread until the faller is even...more
This was quite difficult to get into,as the first half of the book is devoid of paragraphs,and is written in a first person stream of consciousness style that roams wildly about,expressing the deteriorated rambling and obsessive mind of the main protagonist.At times the authors thoughts on the actual writing process becomes evident which adds to the surreal existential quality.The second half is more traditionally structured as it charts the mental deterioration of the second main character who...more
this may deserve a review after all three are done, but then i would have too reread and, man, i don't know how much of this man i can take - demented genius, or genius with dementia, unreliable narrator, or unreliable author. this book should really not be sold in a book store, but rather in strange serendipidous places: underpass of a bridge perhaps or next to the nudie mags at the circle k, with a big blank rectangle blocking the title. and libraries should not check these books out but make...more
Aug 26, 2009 Emmy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
What I have "learned from this book" is that it has no paragraphs. I have been reading this book in French for about 2 years. I've taken numerous breaks to wolf down mindless page-turners. Yes, this book is kind of great, with hilarious shifts of diction mid-sentence (looooong sentence). The narrator slides into flowery pomposity and then suddenly says something abrupt and rather Anglo-Saxon (in French). But you know, I can't discuss the content, because Sparrow is reading these posts.
Melting Uncle
A few years ago I tried to read this. I remember being on a bus full of people and reading about some guy watching 2 figures in the distance. I really could not get into it; it felt like I needed to concentrate harder. So I put it aside.

Now its 2014; I try Molloy on audiobook by Naxos. It was hilarious, thought-provoking, mind-bending. I love James Joyce and Flann O'Brien and liked what I knew of Beckett, but now I know I'm going to have to take the plunge completely. I loved the absurdity, the...more
I don't think this review can do Beckett's Molloy justice without containing an 80 page paragraph about nothing or is it something about nothing or nothing about something or nothing about nothing or something about something or I and not I or Molloy or Moran? Is it true that Judas's torments are suspended on Saturdays or that Mary conceived through the ear or that the Serpent walked upwards? Inquiring minds want to know or perhaps they don't.
This is definitely one of the most amazing books I've had a chance to read. It's crazy, bizarre and yet very skillfully written and complex. Somehow it manages to grasp all those thoughts that appear and disappear within one second, thoughts that actually cannot be said, because they are more like a flash, then a clear idea of something.
Probably it would be for the best if I read other 2 parts of trilogy and then judge the whole package.
Great, beautiful book. It's not an easy read, though I'm not sure why; it's engaging, funny, and it really, really means something. I suppose it's an overload of information to take in; I found myself stopping for a breather every few pages. Fantastic, though; the structure is especially breathtaking (I prefer the first chapter to the second.)
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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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“Don’t wait to be hunted to hide, that was always my motto.” 81 likes
“Yes, there were times when I forgot not only who I was but that I was, forgot to be.” 26 likes
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