Samuel Beckett Is Closed


“A ghostly collaboration . . . a rewarding challenge. Coffey takes a colossal figure whose form-shattering masterpieces can seem hermetic and obscure, deliberately closed off, and opens him up in a way we haven't seen.” —New York Times

“A clever exploration of the ways in which art gives life meaning...shrewd. A stimulating and singular work.” —Publishers Weekly

“In his new book—part memoir, part criticism, and part poetry—Michael Coffey deftly weaves multiple voices into a fractured but unified whole that strongly resonates with the digital age. Highly addictive, fiercely challenging, and lusciously readable—if you ever wondered what Beckett might sound like in the twenty-first century, this is it.” —Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Fidget, Day, Capital, and Wasting Time on the Internet

Samuel Beckett Is Closed makes us experience simultaneously several narratives deployed in subtle counterpoint. These varied voices show the relevance of Beckett’s oeuvre in a world dominated by exploitation, torture, state violence and unbridled capitalism.”
—Jean-Michel Rabaté, American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania; author of Think, Pig! Beckett at the Limit of the Human

“By breaking rules of genre and narrative, by embracing experimental form, Coffey’s work raises questions about how contemporary artists might work to resist the status quo through a subversive, fragmentary style that makes it impossible for us to look away from our political reality. Now, more than ever, we have much to learn from Beckett.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

Published by Foxrock Books in collaboration with OR Books

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About the Book

A baseball game. Officially sanctioned torture. A chance encounter at a bar. A conversation between a parent and child. News reports of terrorist attacks.

These—plus a meditation on the transformative power of the undying work of Samuel Beckett—make up the interwoven strands of this short work by poet and critic Michael Coffey. Written according to a sequence laid out by Beckett in his notes to the unpublished “Long Observation of the Ray,” of which only six manuscript pages exist, this rhythm of themes and genres comprises a complex, mesmerizing work of fiction that has its roots in reality.

208 pages • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-944869-59-5 • E-book 978-1-944869-54-0

About the Author

michael coffey author photo

Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Michael Coffey received his B.A. in English at the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. from Leeds University in Anglo-Irish Literature. Former co-editorial director at Publishers Weekly, he has published three books of poems, a collection of short stories, a book about baseball’s perfect games, and co-edited a book about Irish immigration to America.

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