Mercier and Camier
is a novel by Samuel Beckett
Written immediately before his celebrated trilogy of Molloy
, Malone Dies
and The Unnamable
, Mercier et Camier
(1946, translated in 1974) was Beckett's first attempt at extended prose fiction in French
. It features the 'pseudocouple' Mercier and his friend the private investigator Camier, and their repeated attempts to leave a city (a thinly disguised version of Dublin
) only to abandon their journey and return. Frequent visits are paid to "Helen's Place", a bawdy house modelled on that of legendary Dublin madam Becky Cooper (much like Becky Cooper, Helen has a talking parrot). A much-changed Watt
makes a cameo appearance, bringing his stick down on a pub table and yelling 'Fuck life!'.
Beckett withheld the novel from publication until 1970. The English translation that followed in 1974 featured substantial alterations and deletions from the original text.