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Mercier and Camier by Samuel Beckett

Mercier and Camier (edition 1975)

by Samuel Beckett

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449736,734 (3.8)30
One of the most accessible examples of Samuel Beckett's dark humor, Mercier and Camier is the hilarious chronicle of its two heroes' epic journey. While their travels are fraught with complications and intrigue, Mercier and Camier at least "did not remove from home, they had that good fortune."
Title:Mercier and Camier
Authors:Samuel Beckett
Info:Grove Press (1975), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:absurdist, modernist, modern, 20thcentury, friends, menfriends, minimal, nonsense, dialog, journey, experimental, comedy, french, irish, thirdperson, xy

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Mercier and Camier by Samuel Beckett



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Yet another work I feel conflicted about because although I am very partial to the ideas presented here, there’s something about Beckett's writing that throws me off and makes it hard for me to enjoy this short novel as much as I feel I should. I can’t blame it on the translation as Beckett himself translated it back to English from his original French text. Which is not to say I didn’t find humor in various passages. It’s just that the writing overall felt alienating in some way.

And yet I haven’t been able to stop thinking of Mercier and Camier because much like Bellow’s The Dangling Man the main ideas and thoughts that Beckett is trying to convey resonate with me on a deep level. Because much like The Dangling Man this seems to be a story about what happens when all assumptions and projects and beliefs that humans once held as given are seen to be non-existent. The basic anchor to hang this all on is Existentialism’s “God is Dead,” but this crisis in modern thought branches out to so much more than the strictly religious. This feels like Beckett’s absurd next step past Camus and Dostoevsky.

What happens to us when our drive to progress and proceed finds no solid direction to progress or proceed in?

At one time in our much distant past we must have felt perfectly alright to just exist without goals or beliefs or purpose, but this time is long gone. Religion and Science and Humanity’s Progress has ingrained in us a sense of purpose, enlightenment and drive, originally based on God, but then even on our own exalted sense of Humanism. And yet, what if the drive remains but no agreed upon or even discernible goal or foundation or "higher good” remains to be seen or believed in? What then?

Well, we might find ourselves wandering around aimlessly like Mercier and Camier! ( )
  23Goatboy23 | Jan 17, 2020 |
This one was another miss from Beckett for me. There was not really anything stringing, and structuring, the narrative along and I felt that the entire thing lacked focus and refinement. Despite the aplomb dished out for this, I didn't quite care for it and felt that it did not have much to offer. It is not my type of book.

2 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 12, 2019 |
This is a great story peppered with humor, laughter and wink. A book that I can highly recommend.
[[Beckett]] proves his high linguistic ability. Mercier and Camier are on the move, constantly pondering on trifles such as who was at a meeting point first, about the sense and nonsense of an umbrella, about friendship and what happened to the bike. There is a steady language exchange between the two at the highest level, which often made me laugh. ( )
  Ameise1 | Feb 10, 2018 |

ياااه بقالى كتير مقرتش حاجه حلوه...حاجه ادب راقى فعلا...ادب مش بياخد دور المهرج اللى بيسلى..ادب مش تجاره ادب يخلينى احتوى كل تلك المتعه الذهنيه بنسخه ورقيه احتضنها لاقراها مره وراء المره ب2 جنيه يا بشر...ادب مش بياخد دور الواعظ و ينصح و يضربك على ايديك...ادب تانى من نوع فريد امضاء صامويل بيكت

ادب زى الورقه البيضا تكتب فيه اللى جواك...فى نهايه اللعبه خصوصا و فى اعمال بيكت عموما انت جزء من المسرحيه لا يقل عن اى عنصر اخر...الروايه نفسها مش بتقول حاجه اصلا لكن انت و انت بس اللى تحدد المسرحيه بتقول ايه

بيدخلك بيكت فى حاله شعوريه فى اعمال تجعلك تستسيغ اللا منطق اكثر من المنطق ذاته...يجعلك تتقبل انتظار جودو المطلق و لا تتقبل صياح جيرانك على المرتب...فى لحظات كتلك تستطيع فهم اللوحات السيراليه فتملا الفراغات بروحك القلقه و يتضح المعنى

كيف تتحدث طيله مئه صفحه دون ان تقول شئ؟؟ يبدو كسؤال صعب لكن لدى بيكت طريقه الخاصه..و احد تكنيك بيكت فى ذلك نظريه التكرار بطريقته المميزه كالمشهد التالى

و فى النهايه اترك نصيحتى الدائمه مع اعمال العبث...اترك عقلك بالخارج و لا تلوث فن العبث باعمال العقل البائس

( )
  Dina_Nabil | Mar 23, 2014 |
maybe i don't appreciate 'real literature' as much as i thought, but this is not my style. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Apr 2, 2013 |
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The journey of Mercier and Camier is one i can tell, if I will, for I was with them all the time.
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