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Samuel Beckett: Malone meurt (Malone Dies)

Malone meurt (Malone Dies) is the second in the trilogy that also includes Molloy and The Unnamable. All three were originally written in French and translated into English by the author. In this book, plot has virtually disappeared. We know that Malone is dying, both from the title and because he tells us (I shall soon be quite dead at last in spite of all.) At the end, the writing sort of breaks up and fizzles away and we must assume he is dead. What happens in between is not entirely clear. Malone tells himself stories, brings back memories and invents characters who merge into one another. He even invents one character – Lemuel (Lemuel Gulliver?) – who he uses to kill off the other characters, which he does not manage to do before Malone himself dies. There is some semblance of plot and some semblance of recognisable characters – Sapo who becomes the tramp, Macmann, the pig-butcher Lamberts, Moll with whom Macmann has sex and, of course, Lemuel. But Beckett is little concerned with them. One way or the other we are all going to die.

Publishing history

First published in French 1951 by Editions de Minuit
First published in English 1956 by John Calder