Sam's centenary

"If you really get down to the disaster, the slightest eloquence becomes unbearable."

-- Samuel Beckett

This year is his 100th anniversary, and Charles McNulty does a good job rounding up what's going on, from LA to Dublin. Unlike the New York theater critics at the time, McNulty dismisses Mike Nichols' dreadful, celebrity-stuffed Godot for Lincoln Center in 1988. About the only person to come out of that with his dignity intact was Bill Irwin as Lucky.

But best of all, because UCLA Live's Theatre Festival is presenting staged excerpts, the great trilogy of novels doesn't get short shrift, as is often the case:

"Reading Beckett today continues to be exhilarating. The tensile strength of his staccato sentences, the idiomatic hilarity (particularly pungent in the English translations he prepared or carefully oversaw of his more muted French prose) and the ironic debunking of literary and religious quotations are just a few of the pleasures he offers.

But the challenge of his writing has only grown in an age in which expediency has become the highest virtue. One can't plow through "Molloy" and the others the way one can a batch of Ian McEwan novels. Beckett requires an almost Zen-like attention to the moment. With the Internet cultivating a new generation of attention-deficit readers, the level of concentration it takes to wend down an associative stream (as opposed to steamrolling down a narrative superhighway) may be beyond what most of us are prepared to give."

November 6, 2006 8:00 AM |



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Pat Barker, Frankenstein, Cass Sunstein on the internet, Samuel Johnson, Thrillers, Denis Johnson, Alan Furst, Caryl Phillips, Richard Flanagan, George Saunders, Michael Harvey, Larry McMurtry, Harry Potter and more ...


Big D between the sheets -- Dallas in fiction


Reviewing the state of reviewing


9/11 as a novel: Why?


How can critics say the things they do? And why does anyone pay attention? It's the issue of authority.

The disappearing book pages:  

Papers are cutting book coverage for little reason

Thrillers and Lists:  

Noir favorites, who makes the cut and why



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This page contains a single entry by book/daddy published on November 6, 2006 8:00 AM.

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