Finally, after years of staring at it mutely staring at me on the shelf, I freed it from the agony of other books.
Molloy by Beckett, the first of three novels. Starting late at night seemed like a fine idea. Why not.
I swallowed the first paragraph whole as an anaconda swallows a tapir. Zero indigestion, very enjoyable, a tasty little treat.
I widened my appetite and strained to consume the second paragraph. You know, the one that goes on for over 80 pages or so. No go. Something tore. It hurt.
My inner monologue began to chafe against the character’s inner monologue. Were there two inner monologues, or really only one with its own warp and woof? I couldn’t say where his thoughts and feelings ended and mine began. I was confused. I yawned, then slept. I realized this only when the book fell on me and elbowed me in the chest, rudely waking me up. A demanding mistress. I have a headache, I said.
Still, I aroused my desire and tried to read again.
Words crawled like ants over, around, and under other ants. A ticklish, writhing colony of confusion, surely what one feels when madness asserts itself. Things just didn’t make sense, like fragments of conversations overheard at a restaurant or a park, at a store or a coffee shop: “He’ll take it tomorrow for sure.” “No, over there, where the sign spins.” “She doesn’t know anything from nothing.” That sort of thing. They make just enough sense to not make any sense at all.
Reading experiences can go awry in many ways. Because I wasn’t ready for the rigors of Beckett, I apologetically stuffed Molloy back on the shelf, where it mutely suffers the throng of other books.
When my head is in the right place, I’ll return to it. I will.
For now The Killer Angels.