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The Lost Ones

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Comme un thème que propose un compositeur, auquel les interprètes musiciens peuvent apporter toutes sortes de variations personnelles, c’est un thème que Samuel Beckett nous propose dans Le Dépeupleur. Il crée avec une rigueur mathématique et géométrique un microcosme totalement clos, un « cylindre surbaissé » qu’il peuple d’une foule d’êtres captifs. Il y fait régner des ...more
Published January 1st 1972 by Grove/Atlantic (first published October 1st 1970)
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May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
- James Joyce

Agenbite of Inwit.

How that succinct Life Sentence from Joyce’s Ulysses must have bounced back and forth between the walls of Samuel Beckett’s skull as he wrote The Lost Ones!

As he became older and had sufficiently objectified his anguish - and dovetailed it with the inescapable facts of modern life - Beckett was able to hone his thought into the starkly compressed prose of a Master.

For he was beginning to find Peace.

Such a
Jon Nakapalau
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A hell that is geometrically measured against Dasein without reference...Beckett at 'his' best.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who: 200 'people'

Where: in a flattened cylinder with rubber walls fifty meters in circumference and eighteen meters high, constantly illuminated by a dim, yellow light, and with temperature fluctuations between 5C to 25C, sometimes in as small an interval as four seconds

Why: Because it's Judy's turn to cry


Now I'm quick to assume that there's some who would say that there's a lotta, whatcha call it, 'Subutex' going on here, but I don't wanna put words in anyone's mouth. One may be prone to
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In many cases, a successful work of art will "erase" the viewer in some way or another. Hence, we talk about a person being "lost" in a painting or "wrapped up" in a novel. But not all artworks operate in this way. Quite the contrary, some strive to accentuate the relationship between art and audience. And when succesful, these creations constitute an "experience" in the truest sense of the word. Here, I'm thinking of works like Koyaanisqatsi (which tests the limits of the watcher's visual ...more
Lee Foust
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Although this is the most wholly realized and elaborate of the short prose texts of the period from 1956 to 1976 in which Beckett produced very little of note in the way of novels (my preferred form) with the exception of How It Is, I still just don't think too highly of this one. Oddly, it's one of the first Beckett novels I ever read (in a Nouveau Roman course at SF State back in the early 1980s taught by Greek surrealist poet Nanos Valaoritis) and it had me very intrigued, got me started ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, philosophy
What an engaging work! The analogy to life is obvious right away, but it's the details that really get one thinking. Beckett's description of an incessant, hopeless (or perhaps pointless) life is apt and his details about rules, procedures and time-honored practices effectively underscore the arbitrariness of so much of the social structure of our world. But, while I share his perspective on the essential meaninglessness of life (i.e., that there is no particular point or purpose in life other ...more
This story was begun in 1966, completed in 1970 – written in French, of course, then translated by the author into English. It’s essentially a prose exploration of a section of The Inferno: one of the particular torments of Hell. (Is it an actual story from the Inferno? I don’t know.) But it’s very mechanical – it sounds almost like a Sears catalog:

“The ladders. These are the only objects. They are single without exception and vary greatly in size. The shortest measure not less than six metres.
Alex V.
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This short book is almost all setting, but what place does its claustrophobic prose describe? Are the nameless inhabitants of the 70-page dimly lit "cylinder" inmates wandering an abstracted prison camp? Loose thoughts zombie-stumbling the contours of a deadened mind? Is this society? Neutrinos on the relative universe of an atom?

Weird is what it is, and compelling. I wanted to figure out the choreography of this dull human movement, this place of impotence and sick yellow light. Prison? And
John Tipper
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Completed in 1970, this is the last book the Nobel Winner wrote. It is difficult to categorize (63 pages long), the work's jacket describes it as a story. In the story people are trapped in a cylinder and struggle to get out, using ladders and passageways leading nowhere. They are consumed to escape but stumble upon each other and knock one another down and aside. The short book blurs the distinctions between prose poetry, short stories and theater, though no character speaks a word of dialogue ...more
Ade Bailey
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An (ironic) geometry of geometry where that is an infinite series of plans to map the infinite meanings (otherwise meaninglessness) in a closed circle with no way out, and no way to not search to find the way out. the lost ones are the imagined lost, the present lost (husband/wife, family) in the cylinder, the lost present (presence and now) and so on, forth and thus in an allegorical movement of this and that, reflexion, internarrativity etc, but most of allegory itselves. Quite a challenging ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Checked Samuel Beckett's The Lost Ones out of the MSUM Library. The last time it was checked out was Aug of 1989. Christian Gion, Luke Safely, Sam Gunderson, Helena Thompson: recommended. "So on infinitely until towards the unthinkable end if this notion is maintained a last body of all, by feeble fits and starts is searching still." ...more
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتابی که از روی جلد شروع میشود و کلمات خسته اش بقدری جذاب است که نمیشود بازش نکرد و ادامه نداد.
گمگشتگان ماییم. دنیای ماست. تلفیقی از سوژه و اوبجه ی ذهنی و یک ایده که به بهترین شکل خود یعنی به شیوه ساموعل بکت و با دست های او آراسته شده.
Douglas Penick
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A work of intense beauty elicited by a austere and slightly repetitive language conveying the final condition of a humanity stripped to essences.
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A haunting tail told with breathtaking originality; the first work of Beckett's that I devoured, setting me on the path to the rest of his amazing catalog.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Existential stage directions...
L'auteur dépeint une micro société bien étrange vivant dans un cylindre clos. Des corps cherchent, certains grimpent sur des échelles pour accéder à des niches. Ce séjour est régit par des règles bien précises, comme pour donner un sens à ce cahot. Entre minimalisme et absurde les interprétations de ce court texte (en prose et sans virgule) sont légions.

Ce livre m'a également fait penser à W ou le souvenir d'enfance.
Joseph M.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This strikes me as the kind of story that Borges and Kafka would've wrote if they decided to tag-team.
It's like the bleak tragicomedy of a Kafka plus the mathematical precision and philosophical allegory of a Borges. Beckett's prose is mesmerizing- although very confusing on first read due to his odd punctuation and sinuous sentences . Nonetheless, Beckett's prose is mesmerizing, and he has some really profound insights into the human condition put into the imagination of a genius.
Jeez, I
Nov 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Astaga! Saya baca novelet Beckett ini dari tadi sore dan sama sekali saya tidak bisa mencerna isi buku ini. Prosa Beckett di buku ini rumit sekali, saya merasa kalau saya baca Borges atau Kafka enggak sesulit ini. Novelet ini cuma 62 halaman aja tapi kok ya rumit sekali buat saya. Ini buku kedua Beckett yg saya baca setelah terjemahan Bahasa Indonesia Menunggu Godot yang saya suka. Mohon maaf buat penggemar Beckett, novelet ini saya rating 1 bintang!
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"ABODE WHERE LOST bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain. Inside a flattened cylinder fifty metres round and sixteen high for the sake of harmony."

Mit diesen Sätzen setzt Samuel Becketts Erzählung The Lost Ones (erstmals erschienen 1966) ein und entwirft damit ad-hoc ein reduktionistisches, den infernalischen Darstellungen Dantes nicht unähnliches Bild von Pein und Leid, innerhalb dessen die einzelnen Subjekte,
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Lost Ones is a brief compressed work written in sparse prose that purports to distill human experience into the barest essentials. Experimental, the text tells of a universe of lost bodies roaming the niches and crevices inside a flattened cylinder fifter meters round and eighteen high. The text was translated by the author from the original French.
Patrick Gibb
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Certainly one of the stranger stories I have read. Not a comma to be seen!
Totalement braque ! Je n'y ai rien compris et si j'ai quand même mis deux *, c'est à cause de son côté Shadocks !
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: université
Très étrange... C'est un peu comme lire dans un brouillard et n'apercevoir que quelques éléments par-ci, par-là.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this feels sort of like beckett doing a nouveau roman, even though it's a bit short to be a roman.
May 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm relatively new to Beckett, and so my only point of comparison is "Waiting for Godot". Look elsewhere if you want more of the majesty and humor of that work, but "The Lost Ones" does have its own charm.

Give Beckett credit, he creates a world of his own, and unpacks it in exhaustive and minute detail. The complex social patterns that develop among the pitiable inhabitants is perhaps of greatest interest. All of this is described in Beckett's characteristically dense prose.

Despite being
Volodymyr Stoyko
Твір має особливе значення хоча б тому, що це останнє, що написав Бекет у своєму житті. "Спустошувач" - спроба Бекета створення альтернативного світу, що має форму циліндру. Циліднр розбитий на окремі частини, де діють свої правила для руху та зупинок. Дехто із героїв намагається перейти з однієї частини циліндра в іншу. Інші теж раніше пробували, але втомилися надто, тож просто сидять, обпершись на стіни і своїм положенням заважають іншим спробувати пройти далі. Сидячих терплять, хоча, вони ...more
J. Alfred
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some bleak, quasi-apocolyptic thing where the entirety of the text is done like a stage directions. Something about how everyone is a searcher, but there's nothing to find and everything is running, in an orderly direction, to nothingness.
I've read three of Mr Beckett's works now; Waiting for Godot and Endgame. All of which were utterly depressing and more or less pointless, unless the point is that everything is helpless. Endgame, interestingly enough, seemed almost a companion story to
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lu en dix minutes, je n'ai pas vraiment accrochée vu le style d'écriture de Beckett.

Il y a une première partie d'observation puis de reproduction que je n'ai pas spécialement compris ainsi que le sens du livre mais, dans l'ensemble s'est assez cohérent. De plus, l'emploi des métaphores sont assez perturbante, "des cylindres" "des échelles" wtf

EN GROS. Bien mais si je ne l'avais pas eu en face de moi, je n'aurai sans doute pas commencer par ce livre dans le bibliographie de Beckett.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An interesting distraction, it was good to reaquaint myself with Beckett and to briefly enter back into his world with this novella that Beckett originally wrote in French and then translated into English the following year. It describes life as seen inside a cylinder replete with Kafkaesque descriptions of methods of movement and attempts at escape using ladders.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Муж и жена не узнают друг друга на расстоянии в два шага. Пускай они даже подойдут друг к другу еще немного ближе, настолько, чтобы быть в состоянии коснуться друг друга, и, не останавливаясь, обменяются взглядом. Если они и припомнят друг друга, со стороны это не заметно. Что бы они ни искали, это явно что-то другое."

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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
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“A instant of fraternity. But outside their explosions of violence this sentiment is as foreign to them as butterflies. And this owing not so much to want of heart or intelligence as to the ideal preying on one and all. So much for the inviolable zenith where for amateurs of myth lies hidden a way out to earth and sky.” 1 likes
“For the climber averse to avoidable acrobatics a given niche may lie so many paces or meters to east or west of the woman vanquished without of course his naming her thus or otherwise even in his thoughts.” 1 likes
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