“Words were my only love and not many”

The Guardian’s Review section has another wonderful article to mark the centenary of the birth of Samuel Beckett, today it’s the thoughts and the rememberances of the writer Edna O’Brien.

Our last meeting was in the Pullman Hotel in Paris in 1989, a crowded venue in which he, tall and gaunt, seemed like a carved figure from some bygone civilisation, aloof from the frenzied surroundings. He asked if I agreed that the air in his arrondissement was very clean and very fresh. I couldn’t in all honesty concur. The talk got around to the hereafter. I said I had a fine gravesite on an isolated island in the Shannon. After a short pause, it became clear that his remains were not bound for the cold mantled land. He told me how Donald McWhinnie had telephoned him from his deathbed, hoping for a word of wisdom.

“What did you tell him?”

“Not much,” was the hapless reply.

  • And to hear Paul Auster talk of his meeting Beckett on the radio this morn was also great. Much better hearing him that Edna, I reckon.

  • Comrade Stalin

    When I first saw the picture above I was reminded of the logo for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  • Yoda

    Thanks for that, Pete.

    And it’s always great to see that beautiful image.

    Very cool.

  • Pete Baker

    Ta Yoda.. sorry the image is so small.. scanned from the Guardian, which had it full-page-width [front of the Review section – Berliner size]

    Wandering Taoist

    Paul Auster’s contribution [about meeting Sam] to the new collection of rememberances/interviews, Beckett Remembering: Remembering Beckett, was in the Observer a couple of weeks ago.. linked in one of the posts linked above.

  • RmcC

    With all the great Irish writers out there, why oh why did the Guardian ask Edna O’Brien to contribute? Didn’t she invent chick-lit?

    However I enjoyed the reminiscences the Observer ran in February, in particular Peter Woodthorpe’s, the actor who played Estragon in 1955.

    “The nerves built up on the first night. I have never seen people so ill. Peter Bull [who played Pozzo] was vomiting in basins and running to the loo. It was really panic. Then Peter came on and within two pages he jumped, in his nerves, eight pages. He played five of them, then suddenly realised his mistake and went right back to the beginning. And no one ever spotted that we had done those pages before!”

    Not sure what this says about British theatre-goers LOL

  • … and an article in Culture Northern Ireland
    by Martin Mooney “Why Beckett matters to Northern Irish Writers”