To attempt … to present [Samuel Beckett] as the hero of a traditional realist novel with an omniscient narrator who moves effortlessly in and out of the most intimate thoughts of both Beckett and his partner, Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, when they’re enjoying or failing to enjoy love-making, fleeing the Germans, or simply drinking with friends, inevitably suggests an abyss between the sensibilities of Baker and her hero. She ably describes a lanky, diffident, disconnected man who looks like the Beckett of the photographs and behaves as Beckett is described as behaving in the biographies, but the moment we become privy to his thoughts, it is very hard to imagine we are reading about Beckett at all. “How easy,” wrote Emil Cioran, “to imagine [Beckett], some centuries back, in a naked cell, undisturbed by the least decoration, not even a crucifix.” How much more difficult to think of him worrying that Suzanne will be upset if he stays out for another whisky or two.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
… Leave Novelists Out of Fiction | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)