By Samuel Beckett
Read by Dermot Crowley
10 hours 5 minutes
Written in Roussillon during World War Two, while Samuel Beckett was hiding from the Gestapo, Watt was first published in 1953. Beckett acknowledged that this comic novel unlike any other ‘has its place in the series’ – those masterpieces running from Murphy to the Trilogy, Waiting for Godot and beyond. It shares their sense of a world in crisis, their profound awareness of the paradoxes of being, and their distrust of the rational universe. Watt tells the tale of Mr Knott’s servant and his attempts to get to know his master. Watt’s mistake is to derive the essence of his master from the accidentals of his being, and his painstakingly logical attempts to ‘know’ ultimately consign him to the asylum. Itself a critique of error, Watt has previously appeared in editions that are littered with mistakes, both major and minor. The new Faber edition offers for the first time a corrected text based on a scholarly appraisal of the manuscripts and textual history. Watt is at times extremely funny, bizarre, allusive and richly poetic. Though ‘early’ Beckett, the novel shows the author to be a remarkable virtuoso, investing plot and pace with classical, intellectual and earthy content style. Dermot Crowley proves himself a towering Beckett performer, matching clarity with flair; and with its musical surprises (arranged and conducted by Roger Marsh), the recording shows that, once again, a key Becket novel comes to life unforgettably in the audiobook medium.
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Watt has some of Beckett’s funniest writing, and there’s a great sense of him working towards the inimitable trilogy. The performance here makes sense of the oceans of patterned text when you read it in hard copy, and Crowley brings fantastic light and shade to aid comprehension of the incomprehensible. Click here for more reviews…