Books: The Nether World of No

STORIES AND TEXTS FOR NOTHING by Samuel Beckett. 140 pages. Grove. $5.

Some writers chronicle men on their way up; others tackle men on their way down. Samuel Beckett stalks after men on their way out. Bereft of eternity, he writes of the unending ravages of time. His characters stumble through a sludgy limbo, out of life but not quite into death, "without the courage to end or the strength to go on." Nothing happens; nobody comes, nobody goes. Yet his plays (Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape) and novels (Malloy, Murphy) are metaphors of modern man's spiritual bafflement. "Waiting for Godot" has become...

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