This is why reading Beckett, as funny and brilliant and insightful as he often is, is always exhausting: he fundamentally disagrees with what you’re doing, and wants to make you stop. Again and again he lures us into a game he then reveals to be pointless and stupid. After a while, it gets on your nerves. Enough Sam, you want to say: if you despise words that much, you could have gone into human resources.
And yet, and yet, as Rushdie says: All you have to do is submit, and the words take you away. It’s the paradox of Beckett, maybe even his flaw, that the writing of the man who said writing is meaningless (and then set out to make it so) should be so compelling and so often beautiful. “You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on,” are the last words of The Unnamable, but it might as well be the motto of everyone who tries to read it.
To read the rest of Brown’s article on his Beckett immersion, click here.