Samuel Beckett, the recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the greatest writers of our century, first published these ten short stories in 1934; they originally formed part of an unfinished novel. They trace the career of the first of Beckett's antiheroes, Belacqua Shuah.
I took the road less travelled and opened the book written in 1934 with some little trepidation and a very flimsy recollection of this book that I first read back in the 60s. Could an early work from my early reading experience live up to the masters (writer and reader)? The very first chapter or section or segment or story knocked me right back in my seat (OK I was reading it in bed but I am allowed some artistic licence here no?), All of Beckett's humour is there in a few pages. All his erudition (possibly a little too much). Hindsight is a wonderful thing and in this work all of Beckett's subsequent cosmos looms. The abyss is there, the futility, the hopelessness and the fun - all of them are there. In one chapter/segment ... And as the tales continue - following Belaqua -a man of no value - more and more of the human condition ( Beckett's obsession and muse) comes out of the beautifully crafted prose and slaps your face.
We follow this ordinary and worthless man through all of life - living, loving, party going (nodding to Henry Green here) and finally death and afterwards - we're with Sam B here. This is a tour de force by a young author who took the novel and the reader experience to places it had not been before. It is a wonderful act of creativity and if you are up to it it will bring forth from you a genuine human response. A work of art indeed. Brilliant work.