Maurice Nadeau, in the March 1952 issue of the Mercure de France, offers the following plot synopsis of Malone Dies (translated from the French by Françoise Longhurst):
The narrator, Malone, who says that he imagined the characters of Beckett’s previous works, and often confuses his own story with theirs, is going to die. Before his end, he wants to tell himself stories and make an inventory of his ‘possessions,’ in order to pass the time as best as he can. He lies motionless on a miserable bed, in a cell bathed day and night in the same grey light, not really knowing where he is nor who he is. His memories are evanescent, perhaps imaginary. He fails to create stories which ‘hold together,’ confusing the characters and the adventures which happen to them . . . He dies without having managed to elucidate anything . . . Everything, including himself, disappears in an indistinct mist beyond time and space. Even the reality of his approaching death is not certain.