Malone Dies is a novel by Samuel Beckett. It was first published in 1951, in French, as Malone meurt, and later translated into English by the author.
The second novel in Beckett’s “Trilogy” (beginning with Molloy and ending with The Unnamable), it marked the beginning of Beckett’s most significant writing, where the questions of language and the fundamentals of constructing a non-traditional narrative became a central idea in his work. One does not get a sense of plot, character development, or even setting in this novel, as with most of his subsequent writing (e.g., Texts for Nothing, Fizzles, and How It Is). Malone Dies can be seen as the point in which Beckett took another direction with his writing.
Malone Dies contains the famous line, “Nothing is more real than nothing” (New York: Grove, 1956; p. 16) – a metatextual echo of Democritus’ “Naught is more real than nothing” that appears in Beckett’s first published novel Murphy (1938).
Malone’, writes Malone, ‘is what I am called now.’ On his deathbed, and wiling away the time with stories, the octogenarian Malone’s account of his condition is intermittent and contradictory, shifting with the vagaries of the passing days: without mellowness, without elegiacs; wittier, jauntier, and capable of wilder rages than Molloy.
The sound I liked best had nothing noble about it. It was the barking of the dogs, at night, in the clusters of hovels up in the hills, where the stone-cutters lived, like generations of stone-cutters before them. it came down to me where I lay, in the house in the plain, wild and soft, at the limit of earshot, soon weary. The dogs of the valley replied with their gross bay all fangs and jaws and foam…