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'Night Mother. [Paperback]

Marsha Norman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1998 0822208210 978-0822208211 First Edition
This play tells the powerful story of an epileptic woman in her early 40s systematically preparing her own death - and the frantic and touching eff o rts of her mother to stop her. This searing drama, which won the Pulitzer Prize on Broadway, is guaranteed to keep any listener on the edge of their seat.

A L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Sharon Gless, Katherine Helmond

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The subjects are suicide, love, and the meaning of life--as huge as they come; but they are treated with the specificity of threading a needle or choosing the right breakfast for your needs. Humor and pathos pop up as naturally as wild flowers or fences by the roadside; there is devastating psychological accuracy and nothing seems contrived; and there is that bustle of minutely perceived existential details that bespeak the master."--John Simon, New York

"Ever since I first read 'night, Mother it has filled me with the kind of exaltation I experience only in the presence of a major dramatic work..."--Robert Brustein, The New Republic

"If there is such a thing as benign explosion, this play is it: it detonates with startling quietness, showering us with truth, compassion and uncompromising honesty..."--Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"A spare but lyrical dialogue, 'night, Mother probes deeply into the mother-daughter relationship while making a disturbing statement about responsibility and courage. It is as artfully designed as a sonata, rising in each dramatic movement until it arrives at its inevitable destination."--The New York Times Magazine
-- Review<br /><br /><DIV>"The subjects are suicide, love, and the meaning of life--as huge as they come; but they are treated with the specificity of threading a needle or choosing the right breakfast for your needs. Humor and pathos pop up as naturally as wild flowers or fences by the roadside; there is devastating psychological accuracy and nothing seems contrived; and there is that bustle of minutely perceived existential details that bespeak the master."--John Simon, New York

"Ever since I first read 'night, Mother it has filled me with the kind of exaltation I experience only in the presence of a major dramatic work..."--Robert Brustein, The New Republic

"If there is such a thing as benign explosion, this play is it: it detonates with startling quietness, showering us with truth, compassion and uncompromising honesty..."--Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"A spare but lyrical dialogue, 'night, Mother probes deeply into the mother-daughter relationship while making a disturbing statement about responsibility and courage. It is as artfully designed as a sonata, rising in each dramatic movement until it arrives at its inevitable destination." --The New York Times Magazine
</div> --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Publisher

Winner, International Sony Award, 1994. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 66 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc.; First Edition edition (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822208210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822208211
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(23)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Night, Mother is a sharp, terse play that examines the issue of hopelessness in all areas and facets of life. What is hopelessness, and how does it come about? This play looks at one aspect of suicide and its eventual cause: the loss of one's self, one's identity. The dialogues between Mother and Jessie are intense, but yet there is a separateness, a barrier that can not be broken between the two. They are united together by their relation, but it ends there. The mother/daughter relationship in this play is quite believeable -- albeit sad and unfortunate. Night, Mother is a dark, chilling play that leaves a pondering imprint on your mind long after the last page has been read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A devastating portrait of a mother and daughter October 14, 2006
Format:Paperback
"'night, Mother" is a tour de force conversation between a mother, Thelma, and her daughter, Jessie, who has just told her that she is going to commit suicide at the end of the night. The play is a taut high-wire act that leaves you spellbound as Thelma tries to convince her daughter not to go through with it and Jessie sternly insists. Thelma and Jessie are extremely dimensional, deep characters with an achingly believable relationship. Through the course of their conversation it becomes apparent that there is a yawning chasm between them despite their seeming closeness, and while Thelma thinks that the two can put it right Jessie doesn't believe it -- or want to try. The fierce, emotional back-and-forth between Mother and daughter keeps you on the edge of your seat. The dialogue is very natural and believable, and the playwright, Marsha Norman, displays an extraordinary acuity for what her characters are feeling and have gone through to reach this point. Norman has crafted a devastating portrait of two women that leaves an enormous impact on the reader. I only finished it two hours ago, but I seriously doubt that "night, Mother" will be leaving my thoughts any time soon. Highly recommended -- but keep the Kleenex on hand, just in case.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Fearsome Plays of the Past Thirty Years October 10, 2006
Format:Paperback
Marsha Norman's 1983 Pulitizer Prize-winning 'NIGHT, MOTHER is frequently described as a play "about suicide." Although the play does indeed deal with suicide, this is actually a shallow designation; it is about a lot of things, but most particularly control: who has it, who wants it, and the extent a person will go to obtain it.

The play involves two characters: Thelma, an elderly woman, and Jessie, her middle-aged daughter. They have lived together in an isolated house on a rural road for a number of years. Thelma describes herself as "a plain country woman;" she enjoys life in a fundamental way, not expecting more than she already knows, watching television, knitting, nibbling at sweets, and enjoying regular visits from her son and his family. Jessie, who suffers from epilepsy and is divorced, has become something of a recluse, and her life consists largely of managing her mother's home and thinking on the past. One evening, as the play begins, Jessie informs Thelma that she has decided to kill herself right after she gives Thelma her weekly manicure.

Thelma does not take Jessie seriously at first; clearly there have been too many scenes between the two for Jessie's statement to have any real meaning for her. But Jessie is serious indeed, and over the course of an hour and a half the play evolves into a battle of wits, Jessie determined to kill herself, Thelma equally determined to prevent her from it. In the process, we learn quite a bit about the family and their lives and the various emotional and factual secrets the women have hidden from each other over the years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mother's and Daughter's Goodbye To One Another April 1, 2003
Format:Paperback
What if your daughter or son came into the living room, and she or he told you that he or she was going to end her or his life? How would you respond? What would you do? And the question is what can you do?
Mama thinks that her and her daughter are having a normal night at the house until she finds out that her daughter has planned to end her life. At first, Thelma "Mama" thinks that Jessie is kidding when she says that she wants to shoot herself. When Thelma realizes that Jessie is serious, the conflict begins between the struggle of life and death which is out of Thelma's hands.
Thelma stalls and tries to find out why Jessie wants to end her life. In the small amount of time between life and death, Thelma finds out more about her daughter than she ever did in her entire time with while she releases secrets and concerns that she never revealed to her daughter.
'Night Mother is a play that unwinds spellbound confessions and displays intense emotions that run through the course of people lives. Jessie and Thelma are powerful characters that makes me feel like I am there with them in the room. Jessie, in the first time in her life, feels like she has a sense of control, and death is freeing her as she sees life imprisoning her. The whole play is intriguing and complex. The ending will make you feel like you have realized that life is complex and question why you exist as a human being.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You WILL Cry!
In my youth, I had a strange list of comfort films that I would turn to both when I was happy or feeling blue. My mom never understood why I gravitated to A Trip to Bountiful, Mrs. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eve
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out your kleenex.
I think this play is one of the most heart breaking stories about a mother and daughter's struggle with depression.
Published 5 months ago by Diane H.
5.0 out of 5 stars intense
hope i spelled intense right, lol. this play is really good. check out the film adaptation, it did a great job and lead me to this script.
Published 12 months ago by Burley Brent Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
One of the best written, emotionally charged scripts I' 've ever read. I cry every time. Can't wait till we do this show!
Published 12 months ago by CindyB
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Play!
Bring tissues. This play is so well written and such a difficult subject that people in today's society deal with every day, Suicide. Read more
Published 18 months ago by amy rizz
5.0 out of 5 stars Summary
I had watched the movie Night Mother and wanted to read this and ordered on Amazon.....................Book was in good shape.
Published 18 months ago by Susan Dycus
5.0 out of 5 stars book
my teacher recommended this book and I needed it the same week. The book was in the conditions described and it is a great book.
Published 19 months ago by sheresade
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating
Night Mother by Marsha Norman, the 1983 Pulitzer winning drama is an emotionally draining play. It has only two characters, Jessie Cates, the daughter who lives with her mother,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by booknblueslady
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase
I am very pleased with the purchase and the timely manner in which the book came. It arrived just in time for the beginning of the semester and was in great condition. Read more
Published on September 9, 2011 by Vivienne Pettus
4.0 out of 5 stars Whose Life IS it, anyway?
This play presents an amazing debate on personal autonomy -- our right to do what we will with our own lives. Read more
Published on August 24, 2010 by N. Schleifer
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