Laura Jean's Reviews > Molloy

Molloy by Samuel Beckett
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's review
Sep 04, 2010

liked it
Read from August 29 to September 03, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is one of those books, which, despite high praise from friends, I was skeptical of throughout. While it has so many perfect sentences, these seem lost in the relentless monologic form.

Midway through the second part, when the protagonist, Jacques Moran, began having knee trouble, I began to suspect where the book was going, a premonition confirmed when he sent his son to get a bicycle, and then further borne out when he murdered the man who he thought was himself, before his son, finally, abandons him. By the end it becomes clear that the first section is narrated by the post-psychotic break Moran, a conceit that is narratively satisfying to end on, even as I wonder if the book would be as good, had the sections come in chronological order. The answer is no, because the satisfaction in the reader comes from the detective work being done as you read, as you piece it together, an act that mimics Moran's initial investigations as a detective himself. Therefore, the form of the book places the reader in the same confused, groundless state as the mindlost Moran (Molloy) at the beginning, while also allowing the reader to be a detective with the detective in the second half.

This is its own kind of genius, one that would be completely lost on anyone who did not finish the book, who may have put it down from exhaustion.

I feel like my four star review is less a reflection of deep love, than of deep respect. Thank goodness his prose is so careful; many sentences were like life-preservers thrown to me at sea.

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08/29/2010 page 99
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