Stories & Texts for Nothing by Samuel Beckett

Stories & Texts for Nothing by Samuel Beckett

Review by S. D. Stewart

The short winter’s day was drawing to a close. It seems to me sometimes that these are the only days I have ever known, and especially that most charming moment of them all, just before night wipes them out.

This book made me think about night snorkeling, how you’re hesitant at first to slip into the dark unknown but once immersed you can’t imagine ever having second-guessed yourself. Wonders are revealed, things that feel unreal but are in fact very much part of this world, should you be willing to acknowledge them. Beckett is stingy with his paragraph breaks, sentences stretch on endlessly, commas are plentiful. It all seems a bit daunting at first look. But once I started reading it all made perfect sense. It was like the cadence of his prose exactly matched that of my thoughts. Reading this book made me not want to read realist fiction anymore. What is the point. Rote description of domestic drama, the kind we’ve all lived and read before. So common, so mundane. Let’s cut to the chase, says Beckett. He pulverizes the act of living into fine powder, scatters it into the gutter, and makes absurd jokes in its general direction. There are three short stories and 13 ‘texts for nothing.’ The stories only vaguely follow a plot, the ‘texts for nothing’ even less so. I was glad because frankly I’m sick of plots.

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