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How It Is
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How It Is

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  828 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
"It is one thing to be informed by Shakespeare that life "is a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing"; it is something else to encounter the idea literally presented in a novel by Samuel Beckett. But I am reasonably certain that a sensitive reader who journeys through How It Is will leave the book convinced that Beckett says more that is relevant to experience in our ti ...more
ebook, 147 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published January 2nd 1961)
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Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Based on all the 5 ⭐ reviews I’m going to say this is a case of its me not you but I really did not enjoy this one. ...more
K.D. Absolutely
The 7th Beckett novel that I've read and similar to his The Unnamable (3 stars), this has no plot and told in first-person narrative. Unlike that novel though, this has a structure: divided into three parts that feels like past, present and future. It's just that the setting is all in mud or murky place where the narrator suffers like in the cell of Malone in Malone Dies (5 stars). The narration has no punctuations and it somehow signifies to me the continuity of the suffering like it does not n ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My favorite Beckett. This is a must-read, but not easy by any means. This novel doesn't have punctuation. It may or may not have characters. Setting: mud. Props: sacks with a few things in them. This book is life-changing, and I feel it to be one of the best articulations of human cruelty in existence. An amazing glimpse, one might argue, into Beckett's ethics. Does really interesting stuff with notions of authorial voice/presence/conception of time. If he would have published it as a poem, he c ...more
MJ Nicholls
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, pogue-mahone
Novels narrated by various tersely named men (real or imagined) crawling through the mud (of their memories [and literal mud (perhaps)]) tend to lapse into screaming cliché. This is one of the better efforts.
Aslı Can
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delirmek gibi bir deneyim oldu bu kitap benim için.

Ha it ha çek on kelime on beş kelime ha it ha çek ileri geri okumak bakmak boşluğa ha it ha çek soruları cevapla yeni sorular sor ha it ha çek tekrar tekrar tekrar oku aynı cümleyi hangi cümleyi burada cümle falan yok burada dedim cümle falan yok
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: available
The 'degree zero' of literature: narrative turned inward, generative and cyclical. Wherein character is dissolved into flux and drama is nothing more than its own begetting, the "slow translation from west to east", the double movement of self-extinguishment and self-resuscitation. How it has been, how it always will be, how it is.
Eric Cartier
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books ever. It's a poetic, punctuation-free, bleak and humorous three-part piece about one's past, present, and future selves. There's no story per se; it's more like an existential essay. I sped through the book nine years ago, but this past week I read most of it aloud, measuring phrases and writing in the margins. There are dead ends, revelations, repetitions, and lucent calculations, all in the name of storytelling about being. Beckett composed it in French in 1961 and tra ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How it is. Dear God. How it will be. A few years ago I was outside, walking along, and a large black and white bird – of a type I had never seen before – fell out of a tree and onto the pavement. Straight down. No flutter of wings. No noise, except the dull thud of its body hitting the concrete. It was unhurt, however. I raised my eyebrows, and carried on walking. Coming towards me was a young woman with a pushchair. The pushchair was empty as the child was by her side. As they passed me they no ...more
David M
The Grove centenary edition classifies it as a novel. Not sure I'd agree, although it does sort of have a plot - something about vaguely humanoid figures raping and killing each other in the mud before, during, and after the age of Pim. Science fiction? Opera? I think it could go well with illustrations by Francis Bacon.

A kind of coda to the trilogy, how it is picks up where the Unnamable left off. But then the Unnamable ends in a very strange and desperate place, how could anyone possibly go fu
Dan Fitch
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would you like to destroy your mind? Y/N


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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...
“find someone at last someone find you at last live together glued together love each other a little without being loved be loved a little without loving answer that leave it vague leave it dark” 5 likes
“God knows I'm not intelligent otherwise I'd be dead” 4 likes
More quotes…