During a lonely summer in a Loire tourist office, How It Is conjured up the most wry descriptions of human capacityNot a single punctuation mark breaks the relentlessness of the text, yet the prose is anything but flowing. Gasps of minimal communication, oblique memories and brittle reflections on love rise up from some sort of mire, snatches of a monologue broken by the mud that engulfs the narrator, allowing only the briefest flurry of words before sinking back down again. Samuel Beckett’s text sounds austere, bleak and difficult, and his prose work in general is less celebrated than the plays. But How It Is is moving in its minimalism and, in a strange way, the best description of love I’ve ever encountered (bar the real-life story of Nadine Vaujour, who learned how to fly a helicopter so she could – successfully – break her husband out of jail).I first read How It Is while working a summer job (for €30 a week, if I recall correctly) at a French tourist office in a very small town in the Loire valley. It happened to be fairly near a town named Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, a linguistic coincidence that caused occasional confusion among tourists thinking …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books