am 4. Juli 2000
Though some people may be frustrated by "More Pricks than Kicks'" discontinuity of time and seeming discontinuity of plot, they mistake their own reaction. "MPTK" is a stark but strikingly beautiful collection of short stories unified by the main character's striking personality. That character is Belacqua Shuah, Samuel Beckett's Dubliner anti-hero; he, auto-biographically, has many elements in common with the author, which makes the book read somewhat like a honest and creative confessional.
Sometimes humorous, somtimes shockingly pessimistic, the short story format works surprisingly well, often allowing for especially clever closing images or phrases. The short story format also makes reading Beckett, rarely an easy task, a touch more accessable.
But through it all, Beckett, the master of the declarative sentence, constantly condemns his main character; Belacqua cannot find it within himself to shed a tear when one of his three wives dies, nor does he buy his new wife a new ring, recycling his old wife's ring (inscripted with her name and all) for his supposed new love. This incorrigible bumbler is intellectual to a fault, and dies friendless and unmourned. So all in all, read about Belacqua, but don't be him.
am 4. November 1997
By turns alright and horrid, this collection/novel is not the thing for you if Beckett's later novels (_Malloy_,_Malone_ _Dies_,_The_ _Unnamable_) or plays (_Godot_, _Endgame_) have attracted you to the area. More Pricks Than Kicks is the work of a young man, and one who is visibly struggling to get out from under a perturbing combination of Joycean influence and inedibly rich bombast (making this, to some palates, a game of spot the difference). *Dante and the Lobster* is a worthwhile read and comprises the vague first layer of the palimpsest that grew steadily sparser and attractive over the course of his career. *A Wet Night*, however, is simply horrid. Buckets of obsfucation poured through a fine seive of humor; little gets through. Leave the muck.
(why rated then an 8? the worst of Beckett is still better than so much else...)
Still, there's something of a diary to a young artist's work. Portrait would not be inappropriate, though Beckett, the artist he became, deserves better.