Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Mr Samuel Beckett, personal secretary to James Joyce during the late years of that great author's life, has a raft of novels that were not discovered until the success of Waiting for Godot. Like Joyce, he displays unholy adoration for minutiae, a literary styling that would later be termed "hysterical realism" when it reached full flower with David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. There is much to be amused by here, as we enter the short unhappy life of a manservant in Dublin. Watt considers endlessly the causal relations between possibilities and things, leading to such excursions as a five-page unbroken paragraph exploring one Irish family, the Lynches, and the various diseases and malformations that each of the more than two dozen members suffer from. Strangely enlightening.

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