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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  2,041 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Fiction. WATT was the beginning of Samuel Becket's post-war literary career, the fruition of the years in hiding in the Vaucluse mountains from the Gestapo, which also largely inspired WAITING FOR GODOT. But it remains, unlike the work that followed it, extremely Irish, a philosophical novel full of the grim humour that was already his trade-mark in such earlier fictions a ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 1976 by Riverrun Press (New York, NY) (first published 1953)
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This is the tale
of the man in a
hat called Watt.
And what Watt
did at the house of Mr Knott;
what Watt thought
about what he did &
didn’t do chez Knott,
what Watt didn’t think
and what he didn’t
do while at Knott’s,
what Watt said
about what he did
at Knott’s, what
Watt felt
about what he was or
wasn’t saying about what
he did at Knott’s, what Watt
did about what he said about
what he did at Knott’s. Here,
the first button of his greatcoat.
What Watt thought about Knott,
what Watt thought about Knott’s
Ben Winch
Jun 17, 2011 Ben Winch rated it it was amazing
“No symbols where none intended.” So runs Beckett’s oft-quoted post-scriptural warning to readers of this unique, flawed masterpiece. Apt, if useless, advice in a novel in which everything from the dog’s dinner to the layout of the garden is 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. And make no m ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Abailart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

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
Vit Babenco
Sep 03, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Human being is a strange creature… But some human beings are stranger than others…
“Too fearful to assume himself the onus of a decision he refers it to the frigid machinery of a time-space relation,” – this is Watt’s lifestyle.
“…but we know that we are no longer the same, and not only know that we are no longer the same, but know in what we are no longer the same, you wiser but not sadder, and I sadder but not wiser, for wiser I could hardly become without grave personal inconvenience, whereas s
Apr 19, 2015 Zadignose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
A brilliant, excellent work, that may also be maddening. This is my first exposure to Beckett in any medium, and as I began reading it I was somewhat dubious... until the person of Watt arrived on the scene (that sewer pipe)... but then the book took over my life.

Beckett has created something unique, challenging, entertaining (to a certain kind of reader... me) and bizarre here. He toys with two things that have been kinds of obsessions for me as well... damn, stole my thunder before I knew it w
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
May 22, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Aug 28, 2007 Lin rated it really liked it
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
Catherine Meng
Nov 28, 2007 Catherine Meng rated it it was amazing
If I could give this 6 stars I would. My favoritist-favorite of Beckett. I reread this one quite often.
Oct 12, 2010 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the most annoying book I've ever been profoundly unhappy to come to the final page of.
Jul 27, 2011 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brent Legault
Apr 12, 2011 Brent Legault rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2015 Röhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015

Watt will not
abate one jot
but of what

of the coming to
of the being at
of the going from
Knott's habitat

of the long way
of the short stay
of the going back home
the way he had come

of the empty heart
of the empty hands
of the dim mind wayfaring
through barren lands

of a flame with dark winds
hedged about
going out
gone out

of the empty heart
of the empty hands
of the dark mind stumbling
through barren lands

that is of what
Watt will not
abate one tot.
Dec 31, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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
Lee Foust
I am so enjoying re-reading the complete works of Samuel Beckett in chronological order-the project is explaining/illuminating so much to me that had remained mysterious in my patchwork reading of this and that text as the great man's work fell into my hands over the years. As I said in my review of Murphy, it was as if Beckett's first two MSs were failed attempts to write Murphy, and Murphy itself a kind of pinnacle of his early aspirations to concoct an Irish/Continental existential humorous t ...more
Nate D
Dec 07, 2009 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  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
MJ Nicholls
Dec 28, 2013 MJ Nicholls marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
So long, Sam.
Jun 13, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I laughed out loud in the library. Ennoble-ing and pathetic at the same time.
Jun 23, 2007 Matthew rated it it was amazing
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.
Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle
Dec 11, 2013 Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Weird, darker than dark to the point where it at times borders on the sinister but absolutely fascinating and hilariously funny in parts.

I love, love, love Samuel Beckett. He has to be one of the MOST original, daring and innovative writers of the 20th Century and alongside Joyce and Oscar Wilde, surely also goes down as one of the best Irish writers of all time.

What is Watt about? Well, in a nutshell, it's about a mysterious, shadowy figure called 'Watt' who is either mentally disadvantaged,
Brandon Alan
Oct 21, 2016 Brandon Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, university
This book will kick you, throw rocks at you and toss you down the stairs, all while holding you in a prison of repetition and enumerated details that will eat at your brain until the very essence of language starts to crumble and collapse - making you feel claustrophobic and indignant until suddenly you start to suffer from a type of Stockholm syndrome - one that you can't put into words because that's kind of the point, ya know?
Jan 21, 2017 Oscar rated it really liked it
This is a hilarious and disturbing book, but Beckett isn't interested in making things easy for the reader in any way. If you have the patience to read three pages of a litany of the various looks a committee of five men give each other, and find the humor in it, definitely read Watt. If not, maybe stick to his dramatic works.
Perry Whitford
Aug 28, 2012 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Watt. What?
Knott. Not!

Having read Waiting for Godot many times, finding it disturbing, hilarious, 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. Watt's 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 concessional in mind to the reader such as providing enjoyment. However, variously while reading it, as well as
Craig Werner
Jun 12, 2011 Craig Werner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-lit
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
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
Alex Obrigewitsch
What is a novel, if not nothing?
Is Watt a novel?
Watt is a novel, if not nothing.
Exploding the ideas of the novel, of any end, and of desire, not only presented but enacted.
I love how the the extremes of logic spiral down into nonsense; how the fate of any attempt at a complete logic is an ultimate undoing of its own working.
I loved reading this book. I didn't want to put it down. It is enthralling and hillarious. And yet within the humor there is a dark seriousness (just as in all dark serious
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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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“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.” 53 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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