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Baker's Dozen

The Count Of 13: Ramsey Campbell's Weird Selection
Sean Kitching , May 6th, 2020 09:26

In a Baker's Dozen diversion, writer Ramsey Campbell guides Sean Kitching through 13 favourite pieces of weird culture, from film to opera and literature, via David Lynch, Arthur Machen and more


Samuel Beckett - The Unnamable
Ideally read the other two novels first - Molloy and Malone Dies. Though Beckett himself said it wasn’t meant to be a trilogy, which is possibly a typically perverse Beckett trying to put the audience off the scent in some kind of peculiar way. The Unnamable lives up to its name and has absolutely no sense of a geographical location. It would seem that the entire location of the novel is some sort of inner life, it may be one of the characters of the previous two novels, or perhaps they are inventions of this consciousness. The consciousness may be, and this is why i think it dips into the absolutely weird, a severed head in a jar on a street in a Parisian boulevard. I read it in a single sitting and found it, on the one hand absolutely unputdownable, also absolutely unbearably intense. It’s language pushed to its utter edge and I found it the most terrifying novel I’ve ever read. It is an experience like no other and you have to immerse yourself in it and you live through it. The onward rush of the style, you have to give yourself up to that and experience it for yourself. He then went on to write novels such as How It Is, which is at least as extreme, with the language even more pared down still. But I think The Unnamable is the quintessence of this tendency.