Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
For that about which all that can be said is that it exists, the imperative is to go on existing. There is a voice, desperate to go on (longing perhaps to cease but unable to cease) but conscious of the insufficiency of any attempt to go on. Terrified of each full stop and the cessation it threatens, the voice assumes one character after another, each with a ‘story’ or set of circumstances, but these characters and circumstances are quickly abraded and abandoned, unravelled as quickly as they are knitted, insufficient not through their imperfection but because Beckett refuses to let them conceal the essential nature of the fictive act. That which must speak in order to exist must dissemble in order to speak. In ‘successful’ fictions this desperate underlying impersonal subjectivity is obscured by the characters and circumstances it clads itself in and the reader is scintillated by the provisional ‘reality’ of the story, but in his wonderful stuttering attempts to force the mechanisms of fiction to run against their springs and ratchets, Beckett interrogates the workings of the novel and lays bare the usually unexamined assumptions and motivations that underlie the relationship between writer and reader.

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