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Publisher's Summary

Written initially in French, later translated by the author into English, Molloy is the first book in Dublin-born Samuel Beckett's trilogy. It was published shortly after WWII and marked a new, mature writing style, which was to dominate the remainder of his working life. Molloy is less a novel than a set of two monologues narrated by Molloy and his pursuer, Moran.

In the first section, while consumed with the search of his mother, Molloy lost everything. Moran takes over in the second half, describing his hunt for Molloy. Within this simple outline, spoken in the first person, is a remarkable story, raising the questions of being and aloneness that marks so much of Beckett's work, but is richly comic as well. Beautifully written, it is one of the masterpieces of Irish literature.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2003 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. (P)2003 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"These two skilled actors hold the book together remarkably well....In audio this work takes on the full richness of comedy, probably as Beckett, preeminently a dramatist, intended." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Molloy

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Sean Barrett is not Irish

Molloy is a wonderful book. However, I realised in chapter four that Naxos had in its supreme stupidity appointed TWO voice actors to play the ONE role of the title character. This is not Godot or Endgame, with endless sparring between two characters. There is only one character. Molloy. Now Dermot Crowley is Irish, born in Cork. He has an Irish accent. He is extraordinarily capable of carrying the pathos, disgust, anger, degradation, humour and horror necessary for the role. Sean Barrett is English. Barrett was born in Hampstead. HAMPSTEAD. Barrett cossets a soporifically cloying entitled BBC accent. Now just because you’re named Sean doesn’t mean you have an Irish accent, nor does it mean you can act as if you are Irish, which Barrett surely cannot do. So alternating chapters, NARRATED BY THE SAME PROTAGONIST, are read by different actors. WHY? This is intolerable, not merely because the same character is covered by two different voices, but mainly because SEAN BARRETT IS RUBBISH. Each chapter by Crowley is brilliant, while each succeeding chapter, by BBC Barrett, is twee Queen’s-Christmas-message shite. Crowley acts the role appropriate to an Irish continental pissed off with life, while Barrett minces his way towards a peerage. If you can find an audio version read by one voice actor, choose it instead of this tag-teaming bullshit.

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  • Gene
  • 21-02-2005

Nauseating, boring, hilarious, and magnificent

If you haven't read, heard, or seen Waiting for Godot, do so now. Then return to this additional masterpiece by Samuel Beckett. This is the stripped-down, minimalist story of one man, aged and deteriorating and bitter, but frank beyond what many people would find acceptable -- certainly this is not someone you would want to hang out with. No one can truly follow in the footsteps of Beckett in creating this kind of character and spare yet eloquent prose. There are two narrators of this book, and the first one, who is the voice of Molloy, is the best to render Molloy's music. Molloy is the first book in a trilogy, and the second has just been realeased on Audible format. I finally figured out the (perhaps obvious) significance of the three titles. In the first the main character's name is Molloy, though he sometimes forgets it. In the second the main character is named Malone, which seems to me to be basically the name of the same character, though his name has evolved. And the third, The Unnameable, is the last evolution, where the name has evolved into dust. I think that some people will just hate this book, but if it reaches you, it will reach to your core.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Brad
  • 14-10-2011

Distinct

There were points in this narrative when I was laughing hysterically, and some when I was disgusted and filled with utter pity for our sad little man, Molloy. Beckett is unlike anybody I can think of: hilarious, disturbing, and somehow smooth all the while. I'll definitely be listening again and again to this one.
The narrator Barrett does an excellent job in this and other recordings.

5 people found this helpful

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  • JCW
  • 03-05-2018

One of three of my favorite Audible Books

Caveat lector or caveat auditor, Samuel Beckett is an acquired taste, like escargot, cuisses de grenouille, or foie gras. If you are not familiar with the theater of the absurd, or the inexplicable and haunting mysteries of life’s angst and anguish, then you will not enjoy these stories or vignettes in the form of stream of consciousness of which Beckett was not only a Genius, but an adept Master. These are autobiographical fictional stories of Nothing but pure life in all its vicissitudes floating in and out of first, second, and third person. Bits of life full of tragedy mixed with comedy that will horrify and in an instant make you laugh at our genuine absurdity as we strive for purpose and the search for personal meaning in what seems to be a cold, irrational, and indifferent world. Beckett is one of my favorite writers and this trilogy of Malloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnameable is my most cherished. The narration is superb, sublime, and acted out in a dramatic fashion like many of Beckett’s plays, which makes the character studies seem more than life like. I only wish audible would continue to produce more of Beckett’s short stories with Sean Barrett and Dermot Crowley, these two great actors! Bravo and Kudos!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ashton
  • 15-12-2015

Word Bliss

I got this because it sounded challenging. I couldn't stop listening. I was inspired by the loose ends. Utter audio bliss.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Hokkaido
  • 15-09-2020

A dark and darkly funny masterpiece

This a dark book, and a true masterpiece, it is as if it's protagonists voice comes from a dark hole in the ground. He struggels with a poor memory, forgets, modifies or changes what he just said. Repeats himself. He is desoriented. Our existential condition resembles his, trying to handle lifes fifferent aspects. But this guy is really struggling. This is a dark book, but it is also very, very funny - if you are into absurd and dark humor.

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  • J. C.
  • 04-04-2019

ugh

I read this as a part of my reading list, but I couldn't finish. Maybe it's too "literary", but I just couldn't get through it. Disappointing

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan Unsworth
  • 30-09-2018

A journey into madness

Beckett makes a mockery of meaning, while being able to explore it in ways both enlightening and comical. This is a very interesting novel and I am looking forward to starting the next in the trilogy.

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  • LopLop
  • 15-02-2021

one of the greatest novels of all time

As a fan of Beckett I thoroughly enjoyed Molloy, which I think is one of his greatest works. The narrations from both Sean Barrett and Dermot Crowley were brilliant. Thank you audible for putting together this masterpiece.

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  • Rich Tanguy
  • 20-10-2020

first person narrative by a sad, unlikeable man

First, I am a literary Philistine. I really don't know much about lit. But I try to read the well known classical authors. So I chose Malloy by Samuel Beckett. I listened to two of the seven chapters. I couldn't take it any longer. This is a first person narrative by a man who is old, has some form of dementia (though his cognitive lapses do not conform to any specific type), and is generally an unlikeable person. I just got tired of hearing him go on and on postulating about things like the significance of one testicle hanging lower than the other. The portrayal of the character is entertaining and engaging. But the topic was just not something on which I cared to spend any more time. I said "story"; does a plot ever develop?

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  • is me
  • 06-08-2018

a great book and perfect narration

I am revisiting Molloy after about 30 years since I first read it and I am amazed by the freshness of Beckett's writing. (Not surprised, as he's one of my favorites, but amazed). It meanders with such intelligence as to be instructive. The readers are really top notch, perfect at conveying the nuanced meaning in the work. If you like Beckett, by all means, pick this one up!

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  • Antti
  • 16-10-2015

Circles and Straight Lines

"Not to want to say, not to know what you want to say, not to be able to say what you think you want to say, and never to stop saying, or hardly ever, that is the thing to keep in mind, even in the heat of composition."

I'm ever so confounded by Beckett. Eluded even. His plays remain impenetrable for the time being, and from among the celebrated novels, "Malone Dies" (1951) and "The Unnamable" (1953), are closed books to me. But "Molloy" (1951) is something different altogether. It's easier to appreciate, to get into, and ultimately, enjoy the ride for as long as it goes on. It is profound, full of actual wisdom instead of mere philosophizing for the narrative's sake, and what might make it difficult is also its greatest strength: its otherworldly slumbering from nowhere to anywhere, and/or vice versa. In short, it draws attention to the act of stopping by coming to a halt itself. What it shares with Joyce is its method of existing in the moment, not before nor after, but in the very moment it is read, as if reading it somehow conjured the words onto the page.

Much of the praises in this review go to Sean Barrett, whose second nature it seems to be to interpret great authors and make it seem like he himself wrote the darn things. He's that good, and he's in his element with Beckett. Dermot Crowley, responsible for the other half, is great, as well, although it takes some to get used to the change.

Perhaps I had all I needed with "Molloy", since "Malone Dies" felt quite impossible to see through, but this one is a book I really like, yet I'm perfectly set on revisiting Beckett in the near future. I have a feeling that one day, all will be revealed, all that at this time doesn't quite seem to add up. In the meantime, I'll keep on standing on the seaside, sucking those stones. Just let me get my greatcoat.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 28-06-2008

Beckett is Beckett is Beckett

Here's a writer, playwright, persona who when first encountered in youth and vitality represents a brick wall of intractability that is the gold-standard for cool. Later life and experience, the erosion of disappointments, missed opportunities and passed chances brings Beckett back into play with the mask finally taken off. And it is wonderful, funny and life affirming to know that this little Irish guy with the furrowed face has been there before you and seen it all and written it all - yet still doesn't have any of the answers you are looking for. Mal-alloy a bad mix - but nothing bad about this one. We are lucky to have Beckett's work on stage, on screen on download - it never fails to reach out and hold you with its power, simplicity and truth.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bretonista
  • 16-11-2020

Fine performance of an extraordinary work.

This book is the first part of the trilogy that established Beckett's reputation as a novelist, just as 'Waiting For Godot' established him as one of the leading playwrights of the last century. Like most of Beckett's mature work, it's not for the faint-hearted. But Sean Barrett and Dermot Crowley do an excellent job of bringing Molloy and Moran to life in the two halves of the narrative, capturing the pathos but also the caustic wit of the text. If you like Beckett, the chances are you'll thoroughly enjoy their performances.

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  • Gryfynn
  • 13-02-2017

Hard Going, But Worth It

What made the experience of listening to Molloy the most enjoyable?

I feel beckett's work lends itself more to being heard with the ears than being read with the eyes. Both Narrators were incredibly expressive, which must have been difficult, since Beckett doesn't give much to work with by way of characterising. So much is left to the listeners interpretation.

Who was your favorite character and why?

That this question is here shows that this little review sheet was not made especially for this book. However without spoiling anything I will say Moran from the second half of the book. It's a much more difficult part to read, and the story becomes rather interesting at that point.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

the part of the book where molloy agonises over the problem of too many 'sucking stones'. There's beckett for you right there. massive amounts of time spent on a tedious problem that should be a non-event - ie the problem of having too many stones against too few pockets. It made me laugh and despair all at once.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Honestly, I wouldn't. this wouldn't lend itself to film.

Any additional comments?

I will be honest. Samuel Beckett's work is dificult going, but these wonderful audio versions make it just that little bit easier. It's well worth the effort if you're willing to stick with it though for Beckett's commentary on the human condition.

Well done Naxos!

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  • alex
  • 10-12-2015

Would recommend reading it! instead of listening

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is an extremely complex book and I found it hard to just listen. Would recommend reading it, instead of listening. As context becomes more accessible when one reads it.

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  • Ryan
  • 02-04-2017

Gripping with confusion and madness

This was my first Beckett novel. Truly spectacular with many deep and psychological themes. Would recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Both the narrators a great, causing this novel to be even more gripping

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  • The Supreme Galactic Overlord of Ipswich
  • 21-03-2016

Great performance but the story became tedious.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes and no. I have seen one or two Beckett plays and thought I liked his language. However, it turns out that what works in a play doesn't necessarily work for the duration of a novel. Finding this out was time well spent but that was the only reason.

What could Samuel Beckett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

He could have made it less of an amorphous blob and structured it. That is probably very hard when you are writing a stream of conscious novel and asking me what a man of Beckett's stature could have done better is like asking me what is wrong with Tiger Woods' swing. It's just that after the first 30 minutes this wasn't the book I wanted to listen to any more.

Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett and Dermot Crowley – was your favourite?

I have to confess that I only made it about 90 minutes in so was not aware that there were two narrators. However, the narrator that I heard was absolutely brilliant. It was on the strength of the sample 5 minutes that I bought the book. The narrator had a beautiful lilting Irish accent which I could have listened to all day.

Could you see Molloy being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

No. It would require an even greater chunk given over to interior monologue. This worked in Reginald Perrin but I think it would become too much with so little actually happening.

The stars? Maybe a younger Wilfred Bramble or David Kelly.

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