Samuel Beckett’s ‘Murphy’

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After reading a lot of Sam Shepard’s work I decided to branch out and start reading some of his influences. From what I gather Beckett is one of his favourites. I knew of Beckett as a play write and theatre director but hadn’t read any of his prose work, short stories or Novels. While I was in London for meetings I picked up a copy of Molloy, read the first 30 pages and concluded It might be best to start with his early work. I found Molloy a very hard read. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it. The only trouble was that after reading any more than ten pages at a time, I found myself lost. It’s a hard book to follow. I picked up a copy of Murphy, the Irish writers first published novel. Beckett found it very hard to get the book published but eventually managed to in 1938 by Routledge. Murphy is one of a very few novels which Beckett wrote in English. Most of his later works were originally written in French and translated into English (with his assistance).

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” Is maybe my favourite opening line to any book I’ve read. The book is as complex as it is bizarre. Very reminiscent of Kafka’s work. The thing I like most, is how floored all the characters are. There isn’t a likable soul amongst them. Brilliant read if you get a chance. Now, time to give Molloy a read.

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