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Samuel Beckett: Comment c’est (How It Is)

Technically, this is a novel but, with it, Beckett has painted himself into a corner as the disembodied characters of the Trilogy are defragmented even more. This is his last full-length novel. His future works of prose fiction are short and contain little in the way of text. In this work a creature, sort of human, crawls through the mud towards someone called Pim. There are other characters, called Bim, Bom and Kram who may or may not be something to do with Pim or even be Pim. The book is divided into three parts (as he tells us at the beginning in the most coherent part of the book). In the first part he is on his way to Pim. In the second part he is with Pim and in the third part it is after Pim. They alternately torment each other, so it is never clear who is the victim, who the tormentor. But Beckett really has painted himself (and us with him) into a corner here for there is really nowhere else to go.

Publishing history

First published in French 1961 by Editions de Minuit
First published in English 1964 by John Calder