Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Homecoming by Harold Pinter

(pb; 1965, 1966: play)

From the back cover:

"In an old and slightly seedy house in North London there lives a family of men: Max, the aging but still aggressive patriarch; his younger, ineffectual brother Sam; and two of Max's three sons, neither of whom is married -- Lenny, a small-time pimp, and Joey, who dreams of success as a boxer. Into this sinister abode comes the eldest son, Teddy, who, having spent the past six years teaching philosophy in America, is now bringing his wife, Ruth, home to visit the family she has never met. As the play progresses, the younger brothers make increasingly outrageous passes at their sister-in-law until they are practically making love to her in front of her stunned by strangely aloof husband."


Homecoming is a short, sharp and caustic play. While this is structurally and tonally stunning, its pitch black harshness, with its sudden character shifts (or angles of attack), made this an unpleasant read from start to finish: no rays of sunshine in this cutting, bleak familial drama.

This is worth reading, if you do not mind its repentless darkness or are interested in studying how waste-no-word plays are written. Otherwise, pass on Homecoming.

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