Beckett as beach read

Did you know that scholars, rummaging around in the papers of Beckett’s dusty Paris estate, recently discovered what might be a long-lost play?  A long suspected, lost masterwork.  It consists of 23 blank pages that magnificently capture the starkness and emptiness of modern life.  The first page, alone, scholars say, is genius.  It’s true.  I read it in The Onion.

O'Donoghue shows off what could easily be the play's whimsically tragic opening scene.

Approaching Beckett isn’t easy.  It’s like standing at the base of a mountain and thinking…I’ll never get up there. It’s intimidating, daunting.  It’s like my Dad asking me if I was reading that book on purpose.  “That book” being any part of the screwy collection of stuff that I used to read, and still do.  It’s like Salman Rushdie saying that “these are difficult books and a headache after reading would not, or not in all cases be an inappropriate response.”   But there I was, reading Beckett, Murphy, on the beach.  Beach reading material, risking the Beckettian headache.  People are regarding me with some suspicion. But I ignore them. 

Like Murphy, on my beach day, I reject money, work, marriage and responsibility.  I sit on my chair. However, I am unbound.  I am in the sun, not out of it, so I slather on the suntan oil–it’s so easy to lose personal freshness (Murphy, pg 81)–I am not in a medium-sized cage of north-western aspect, (Murphy, pg 3) symbolizing 20th century man’s walls and entrapments–I am on a lovely beach.  But soon I will have to “buckle to” and start eating, drinking, sleeping and putting my clothes back on.

And so, I go on.

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