aroundbooks

aroundbooks

10. desember 2006

Så du tror Beckett er vanskelig?


Watt er min yndlingsbok når det gjelder Beckett. Her er en omtale jeg fant på nettet, klargjørende og god både om Watt spesielt og Beckett generelt.

"Watt" is the hilarious story of an itinerant character who walks one day from a train station, like a homing pigeon, straight to the home of a man whom he will serve. He enters the kitchen to take his spot, whereupon the present kitchen worker issues a rambling monologue of stunning length and baffling content, then leaves the household for Watt to stay behind. In the first few pages, we are already asking: Why did Watt just show up? Whose house is this? Who is this man in the kitchen already? Why is he delivering this major dissertation? What does it all mean? The rest of the book concerns Watt's service to the master of the house, some of it conventionally narrated, much of it digressive and odd. To explain this book, however, is to sound ridiculous. A certain number of things happen to Watt, he takes a certain number of actions, he engages in a certain number of conversations, and he ends the story in the book in a certain meaningful fashion. The entire story is told in Beckett's trademark effusive style, a rollicking, bizzare, but highly entertaining profusion.
The meaning of the book is also classic Beckett: Don't wait for Higher Meaning, because there is none. All his books portray absurd characters doing absurd things, waiting for life to reveal itself, but ultimately realizing that life reveals itself through the living. To answer the questions posed above, the book is composed like a circle, just like life. At the same time, it's also completely meaningless, just like life. We go to some place, we stand in some position, we engage with some people, we commit some acts, we turn and commit other acts, and we engage with some other people. Somehow, among all this ballet, the world still turns, and we still live upon it. For all their foolish sounding, Beckett's books do indeed have a meaning, that life is just the living of it.
Beckett is a psychological master. His prose style will never be repeated. I'd call him the Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan of literature, a crude analogy, for which we should apologize, but it is one that we hope reflects the major impact of his work on the art, and his primacy among its literary practitioners.
Beckett's work is random by no means. It is carefully crafted, and has an internal rhythm all its own. If a reader is willing to take off their shoes and run through the squishy mud of Beckett's life-swamp, so to speak, it is a joy to read and great fun to reflect upon. "Watt" is a good example of his work, relatively short, and relatively simple, but still likely to provoke great consternation among any who are not used to Beckett's gushing and admirable style, but great enjoyment among those who take it on its own life-affirming terms.
Beckett is a great writer for those readers who seek a literary puzzle, a semantic challenge, and a story with a surreal whiff, which tells us how wonderful it is just to be alive, enjoying our time on earth. "Watt" is one of Beckett's more accessible and fun works. --Reviewer: Hovig John Heghinian from Houston, TX USA

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