Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Singing, Crying, Stating, Murmuring, Things Unintelligible

SHARE THIS

But Watt heard nothing of this, because of the other voices, singing, crying, stating, murmuring, things unintelligible, in his ear. With these, if he was not familiar, he was not unfamiliar either. So he was not alarmed, unduly. Now these voices, sometimes they sang only, and sometimes they cried only, and sometimes they stated only, and sometimes they murmured only, and sometimes they sang and cried, and sometimes they sang and stated, and sometimes they sang and murmured, and sometimes they cried and stated, and sometimes they cried and murmured, and sometimes they stated and murmured, and sometimes they sang, and cried, and stated, and sometimes they sand and cried and murmured, and sometimes they cried and stated and murmured, and sometimes they sang, and cried, and stated, and murmured, all together, at the same time, as now, to mention only these four kinds of voices, for there were others. And sometimes Watt understood all, and sometimes he understood much, and sometimes he understood little, and sometimes he understood nothing, as now. 29

 

You are prolly saying WTF. It’s okay. You just read an excerpt from Watt, a 1953 novel by an Irish modernist novelist called Samuel Beckett. His novels tend to be dark and quirky. I like the feeling of this passage. There is something unsettling, maybe even annoying, about having to a recycle a string of verbs over and over again in a way that is not even that inventive. But there is also something comforting about the nursery rhyme feel. Imagine a whole novel filled with moments like this.  Anyway, let me know what you think.  From time to time, I’ll share excerpt from books I’m reading. Sometimes, all it takes to make us read a book is a tinie-tiny taste of what it’s like.

Buy used and cheap here

Photo Credit: Avigdor Arikha

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

What We Are Reading This Week | Magical Tales About Life in Northern Nigeria

abubakar the whispering trees

BUY Cassava | Amazon A new edition of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s The Whispering Trees is out in Cassava Shorts, a […]

Poda-Poda Stories Calls for Submissions from Sierra Leonean Writers

poda-poda stories Sierra Leone

Poda-Poda Stories is a new digital platform curating Sierra Leonean literature. The platform was founded by Ngozi Nicole, a Sierra […]

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light Wins the 2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light is the winner of the 2020 Chautauqua Prize. The Chautauqua Prize has been awarded […]

Brittle Paper Quote of the Week — Wole Soyinka

quote of the week wole soyinka

  The of Quote of the Week is by Wole Soyinka: “The man dies in all who keep silent in […]

Chimamanda Adichie Shares the Ins-and-Outs of Writing Half of A Yellow Sun for Biafra Remembrance Day

Untitled design

  It’s Biafra Remembrance Day, and while many authors have written about the Biafra War, perhaps no other book on […]

Teju Cole’s Essay on The Disposability of Black Lives is Essential Reading for Our Current Moment

george floyd minneapolis teju cole

As we mourn the death of George Floyd, whose life was brutally taken by a white police officer in Minneapolis, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.