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1001 book reviews > Watt - Samuel Beckett

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3831 comments Mod
read 2011
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 Waiting for Godet which is a play by Beckett and this story Watt has a lot of the same characteristics of tragicomedy. It is a bleak picture of human nature. Watt is abused and abused by those around him; he never protests but picks himself up and continues on. Watt over analyzes and seems to characterize the anxiety that is part of the existential being. Beckett wrote Watt while in hiding during WWII which required that he move about. I pictured this while I read this book and thought some of the scenes might be things he was observing at the moment. When he described how Watt walked, I pictured the marching of Hitler’s soldiers. The disjointed tale may be more a product of filling time that an actual attempt to write a novel. The character Watt and the whole work seemed a bit schizophrenic to me.


Diane | 1943 comments Rating: 3.75 stars

Maybe I am growing accustomed to Beckett, seeing as he has so many books on the list. I actually find this one darkly amusing. Some of his wordplay and use of anagrams is reminiscent of children's books I read to my kids when they were little. There really isn't a plot here, and much of it is nonsensical and overanalyzed. So, not an easy read. It is definitley different. My favorite Beckett, so far.


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