Questions for Samuel Beckett, by Deborah Solomon

Ed. Note: My friend Bill has unearthed* a companion piece to Solomon’s Questions for George Saunders. It is reproduced, without permission, below.

First of all, happy birthday!

Birth was the death of him.

Krapp’s Last Tape and Malone Dies portray men recalling their pasts as they face their final days. Although you’re often associated with the theater of the absurd, your work is essentially a nostalgia fest.

It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter.

How were you informed that you’d won the Nobel Prize?

A stain upon the silence.

In Endgame, you present the protagonist’s parents as living in trash cans. Is it fair to call you an ecstatic appreciator of trash can culture?

Let me go to hell, that’s all I ask.

What is the connection between trash cans and the arc of man’s destiny?

What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.

Waiting for Godot is about two characters waiting for God. Were you searching for God in your own life when you wrote the play?

I deeply regret calling it “Godot.” It has nothing to do with God.

No, I’m quite sure you’re mistaken. My own exegesis of the work conclusively demonstrates–

Have you not done tormenting me! . . . Let us not waste our time in idle discourse!

Now that you’re dead, what do you miss most about being alive?

If I had the use of my body, I would throw it out the window.

You love me, don’t you? Say it. Say you love me! Say uncle!

We are all born mad. Some remain so.

Isn’t it true that you’re intimidated by the subtle intensity of my intellectual rigor and piercing insights?

You invent nothing, you think you are inventing, you think you are escaping, and all you do is stammer out your lesson.

* Okay, imagined.


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