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More Pricks Than Kicks

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  587 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Samuel Beckett, the recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the greatest writers of our century, first published these ten short stories in 1934; they originally formed part of an unfinished novel. They trace the career of the first of Beckett’s antiheroes, Belacqua Shuah.

Belacqua is a student, a philanderer, and a failure, and Beckett portrays the vari
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 7th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1934)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,178)
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MJ Nicholls
The beginnings of Beckett: arcane, outré, plump with rococo vocab and spiky turns of phrase, incomprehensible, comprehensible in places, incomprehensible again, prone to the polylingual pun, liable to the phrase “little bump of amativeness”, self-referential and self-laudatory (“thank you Mr Beckett”), frustrating as hell, funny on occasion, abounding in references to Dante, liable to the phrase “nuptial hawser”, freewheelingly absurdist, bursting with the sort of smart-alec snottery that trigge ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novel (Beckett's first) is composed of a series of stories that tell the story of the adult life of Belacqua Shuah, a sort of schmuck version of Stephen Dedalus. The book is fairly funny, sometimes the humor had to be explained to me though by the OED, it's also dark and absurd. You know, sort of what you would expect from Beckett.

This 170 page book took me about a month to read, mostly because I insisted on reading it next to my computer so that I could look up words in the OED and becaus
Sep 05, 2007 Sonia is currently reading it
I read this when I was 19 and had a very intense crush on a Beckett-loving Latin professor who is now a psychiatrist. Looking at it again I have no idea how I understood anything.
Vit Babenco
Sep 01, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“‘Have sense’ she said sharply, ‘lobsters are always boiled alive. They must be.’ She caught up the lobster and laid it on its back. It trembled. ‘They feel nothing’ she said.
In the depths of the sea it had crept into the cruel pot. For hours, in the midst of its enemies, it had breathed secretly. It had survived the Frenchwoman's cat and his witless clutch. Now it was going alive into scalding water. It had to. Take into the air my quiet breath.
‘You make a fuss’ she said angrily ‘and upset me a
Max Nemtsov
Apr 12, 2015 Max Nemtsov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Чтение чего-то через что-то другое — совершенно нормальная практика, но не все почему-то об этом помнят и/или отдают себе в этом отчет, когда так делают. Вот это — совершенно Джойсов роман в эпизодах (жаль, что составители сборников часто дербанят его на «рассказы»), он весь происходит в топографии «Дублинцев» и «Улисса», так что если кому не хватило Джойса, могут догнаться первой книжкой Бекетта. С «Дублинцами» он вообще до того параллелен, что возникает подозрение, уж не пародия ли это. Но рас ...more
Şeyma Topaloğlu
Dec 04, 2015 Şeyma Topaloğlu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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I'd read alotof Beckett before I got around to this one. I think Beckett's a great writer but he's too grim for me. I'm already grim enuf.. & too morbid. SO, when I read this & found it to be very well written (no surprise) but also from an earlier phase in his work where people are more than just blind worms crawling pointlessly thru the mud (nice surprise) I was relieved. Anyway, just when I was probably not expecting much from Beckett anymore he reminded me that he really IS a great w ...more
Feb 09, 2012 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
People often find Beckett grim and he is, but he's also dead funny. This early work is hilarious. (And grim).
From my 1982 notebook:
Belacqua's jolly japes in Beckett's superb prose - corns complicated his night. Every sentence wound up like clockwork, ready to delight. eg It was the old story of the salad days, torment in the terms and in the intervals a measure of ease.
Balanced prose, the words a mathemetics of image and sound and meaning. (I was young, well 27).
May 26, 2014 Domhnall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Belacqua is the character around whom Beckett has built this collection of short stories and by the end he has been firmly established as a credible human figure, with a curmudgeonly personality and foibles that are all his own. ".. he was an indolent bourgeois poltroon, very talented up to a point, but not fitted for private life in the best and brightest sense, in the sense to which he referred when he bragged how he furnished his mind and lived there, because it was the last ditch when all wa ...more
Jul 26, 2010 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Probably best known for the play Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts, in addition to writing plays, Samuel Beckett is also the author of a number of prose fictions. More Pricks Than Kicks is a book of Beckett’s early short stories. All of the stories are about the same character, so one could read the book as a novel (although here there are few cause and effect links among different stories, as contrasted with the way that cause and effect links together chapters in a novel).

Beckett bo
Sean Masterson
A somewhat uneven but interesting read. Beckett was heavily influenced by Joyce and the elder writer's fingerprints are all over these stories.

For the most part each story can be read on its own, taken together they tell the life story of Belacqua Shuah. A character who is summed up by a friend here:

"My sometime friend Belacqua enlivened the last phase of his solipsism, before he toed the line and began to relish the world, with the belief that the best thing he had to do was to move constantly
William Dearth
Jan 18, 2014 William Dearth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
I have to go five stars on this one even though "Wet Night" was rather difficult. Beckett can be simultaneously comic, dark, merciless, pitiless, intelligent, satirical and creative. The times in which he is brilliant, which are many, he writes some of the most elegant prose that I know of. He is obviously a talent of astounding intelligence and background knowledge, so you best be on your toes while reading the majority of his work -- though admittedly, that will not always work.

These ten conne
Abimelech Abimelech
ToriginsHUWNODREDRS (;;/;)
Jan 22, 2016 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I might reread at the end of the year to see if I get a better handle on. Beckett's a weird guy, and writes some weird dudes, this book is no exception. Each 'chapter' is essentially a different story revolving around this guy named Belecqua who is 1) kind of a contrarian and 2) magically able to get a lot of woman to love him... somehow.

I knew nothing about this going in, my only exposure to Becket being a bit of Molloy, but trying to decipher it blind was a good experience. To m
Lee Foust
Dec 22, 2015 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here the young Beckett takes a step towards the Beckett I first encountered in college, beginning my studies of the master's oeuvres with the famous Malloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable trilogy. Here, however, in his first published complete book, we find him polishing up a bit of the mess that was his aborted (well, un-publishable mainly) Dream of Fair to Middling Women, re-arranging the materials, and attempting some new, tighter prose using the same protagonist, Belacqua Shua. The new pieces st ...more
Holly Foley (Procida)
Was that english ? I mean do they consider translating into American or even readable British english ? It might well have been James Joyce as far as I was concerned. I generally approach these writers as codes to be solved. The problem was, I could figure out entire passages of description of Belaqua doing something very mundane, but then I got lost when any action happened. Parts were good...
Alex V.
Jul 15, 2014 Alex V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was kind of a hoot, which is not how most describe the works of this author. Mean-spirited, unsympathetic fun in a lifetime of stories about Belocqua Shuha, a manifestation of being uncomfortable being alive. Bel is unapologetically horrible most of the time, a bratty pratt in appreciative of the world that embraces him. I dig it.

Much of this early work is hard going, especially the hallucinatory bah humbug tale "A Wet Night." I think the story is about Christmas but not sure. Whatever
Mar 28, 2011 Joseph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sorry... except for the part where the guy on the bike is at the bar drinking before the people get in the car and chase after him.... I am at a complete loss.
I tried....really I did.
Jun 10, 2008 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just don't get Beckett, man. I've given him a fair shot, but I just don't get him.
Jul 10, 2014 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Joyce, Beckett expects in these early stores that the reader knows several languages and many literary, philosophical and other references. At the same time, there's an earthiness to much of the prose that reflects the many dualities in the themes. As Coetzee suggests in his intro (the acute leading the not so?) Belacqua, self aware and self pitying, is not as engaging as many of the side-characters. Spotty, but spottily brilliant.

Haydon Kincaid
[from "Dante and the Lobster"] -- "Butter was a blunder, it made the toast soggy. Buttered toast was all right for Senior Fellows and Salvationists, for such as had nothing but false teeth in their heads. It was no good at all to a fairly strong young rose like Belacqua. This meal that he was at such pains to make ready, he would devour it with a sense of rapture and victory, it would be like smiting the sledded Polacks on the ice. He would snap at it with closed eyes, he would gnash it into a p ...more
Ronan Mcdonnell
Sep 28, 2015 Ronan Mcdonnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are flashes of the brilliance to come in this early text by Beckett. He plays delightfully on the moments between moments. The making of toast becomes a rite of passage, a herculean task to perfection. The book is a series of happenings, each sublime in stilted awkwardness; a social misfit meanders his way through in and out of the narratives, being challenged by a confluence of female characters.
Beckett was fascinated by Joyce and this book of pan-Dublin scenes opens a dialogue with that
Jul 22, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
“Mrs bboggs was utterly nonplussed. How was it possible to name a woman without thinking? The thing was psychologically impossible. With mouth ajar and nostrils dilated she goggled psychological impossibilities at the offender.”

Remember: Blue-eyed cats are always deaf; the burrowing tucutucu is occasionally blind, but the mole is never sober.

Stories of similar/identical material to Dream of Fair to Middling Women, but published years before that book, which publication was not until after Becket
Steve Morrison
I love Samuel Beckett--his late works are very austere and moving (while retaining his gallows humor) , but his early books are jolly and hilarious! This is a collection of his stories from before his first novel, Murphy (one of my favorite books). They concern the semi-romantic misadventures of one Belacqua, and are crammed with dark, dry, earthy humor. You can see how Beckett started out jaunting in the jolly footsteps of Joyce before he became a minimalist monk.
William A.
Jan 11, 2011 William A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed re-reading this collection of connected short stories that I first read in the mid-80s. Over the years I would catch myself remembering a "scene" and tell myself I should give it another read. As with anything written by Beckett, I strongly recommend it to everyone. The main character is far from lovable, but the author does imbue him with a sufficiently accessible charm to make the reader interested in his small adventures.
Bill Kidd
Oct 08, 2014 Bill Kidd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Fab, the language baby the language - especially the sandwich"
An arrogant, self-serving collection of stories in which Beckett shows off his own classical education and fails miserably at accomplishing Joycean prose. Beckett is too self-conscious about the Modernist moment and flaunting literary conventions to achieve any great meaning or lasting impact in this text.
Apr 17, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first exposure to Beckett in college, it's his most Joycean work. Very funny. Get your dictionary. Beckett nails the human condition in all it's squalor and confusion better than anybody. But there is still hope in his characters, if not bemused resignation. Ha!
Nov 22, 2009 Hanny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: samuel-beckett
I made it a third of the way through this and decided that I had to bail. The four stars are just to get your attention and say that the first story in the book, "Dante and the Lobster," is one of the best I've ever read. Are there others in here that I should check out?
Dec 16, 2010 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early work by Beckett, MPTK showcases early examples of his unique voice and labyrinthine language. It is a dark, moving and tremendously humorous look at various stages in one antiheros life through multiple marriages and to his ultimate end.
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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 about Samuel Beckett...

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“Say that again" said the red gash in the white putty.” 2 likes
“The sweet creature! She would look it up in her big Dante when she got home. What a woman!” 1 likes
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