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The Homecoming Paperback – January 11, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harold Pinter was born in London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 and they married in 1980. In 1995 he won the David Cohen British Literature Prize, awarded for a lifetime's achievement in literature. In 1996 he was given the Laurence Olivier Award for a lifetime's achievement in theatre. In 2002 he was made a Companion of Honour for services to literature. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and, in the same year, the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry and the Franz Kafka Award (Prague). In 2006 he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize and, in 2007, the highest French honour, the Legion d'honneur. He died in December 2008. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802151051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151056
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "umd_cyberpunk" on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Pinter at his darkest and most experimental.
This play's first and second acts are of equal length down to the line.
Sexual deviance, abuse, name calling, assault and torture: these are the norm. These people make the rest of our families seem pretty good. The play is twisted and as much a psychological journey as anything else.
Pinter lives up the claim that his plays were like, "Beckett in doors," with this one. Though most of Pinter's plays have a dark edge to them, this one may even cross over the line, if you are paying close attention to what is really going on.
Worth reading at least twice, after the shock from the first time through, the second read (if read closely), becomes even darker and more forbidding.
Wonderfully written, and further proof that Pinter is one of the masters of modern British drama.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Harold Pinter, The Homecoming (Grove, 1965)

I spent the first act of this effort from our most recent Nobel Prize winner for literature thinking "my, this is all well and good, but what is it about this play that had everyone telling me this needs to be the first Pinter I read?" Then came act two, and I understood it.

The Homecoming starts off (as you might expect given that first paragraph) unassumingly enough; a man and his wife of six years return to his ancestral home. His brothers, uncle, and father live there, and are meeting his wife for the first time; the brothers, roustabouts both of them, act a bit oddly (well, actually, a bit naturally) around the wife at first, but there's nothing terribly out of the ordinary. In fact, there's a surprising lack of family tension; the normally prickly father welcomes his wayward son home with open arms.

Then, of course, everything goes to pot in the most entertaining manner possible. I have spent years reading thousands of volumes wondering why it is that everyone has to over-emote; The Homecoming is the absolute, perfect antithesis, and I spent the entire second act wishing that these characters inhabited at least half the novels I've read in the past decade. They're deliciously perverse, and so very deadpan about it. Now, while Pinter is busy creating these characters and putting them into interesting situations (and the situations are interesting enough that the entire play can take place in a single room), he's offering some excellent satire on the family dynamic, but Pinter is talented enough to let the satire speak for itself while he concentrates on the story at hand, the mark of a man who knows how to write.

This is very good stuff, and I'll definitely be diving farther into Pinter in the coming years. *** ½
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By calmly on November 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
5 stars going on 10. It will take me weeks to digest this one. Little bit of a surprise, eh? So Pinter is not just a political campaigner.

The quality of the dialogue knocked me off my feet. Conventions seem well-established but aren't quite the expected conventions. The family is close but not quite the expected closeness. This is hardly a dysfunctional family: it's just a family not functioning as you might have been taught a family should.

I recently watched the 1973 American Film Theatre performance of this play on VHS. Vivian Merchant, who also starred in the American Film Theatre's version of Jean Genet's "The Maids", plays Ruth in "The Homecoming". How to expect a better cast? In the hands of those incredible actors, this play slammed into me. It will take me days to find suitable words to describe what hit me. Unlike the plays of Pinter's friend Beckett, "The Homecoming" can't be dismissed as Theatre of the Absurd. Not that there isn't absurdity, but that Pinter works hard to interwine it with familiar daily routines.

No boring moments. At the beginning the hostilities seemeed contrived but very soon a lot more was going on. Most of us aren't as creative as this family in finding a way to make the family work ... and most of us probably wouldn't want to be. But they are close and not just because of what they share during this visit. The father especially struck me as rising above his angers to find a love (however unconventional) for his sons and that warmth became unmistakeable as the play progressed. No? Well, something special is going on in "The Homecoming" and I'll probably need many passes to understand what it is. But, with such rich dialogue, many passes seem warranted.
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By B. Wilfong on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Homecoming" was labeled by one early critic as a "comedy of menace", and I feel that sums it up better than anything else I have heard. This is a dark, deeply ambiguous, and funny play. I first read this play in college, and then again recently, soon after seeing an excellent production of it at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario Canada staring Brian Dennehy. Being older and more experienced, I feel much better about the play then I did when I first encountered it years ago.
I am hesitant to say what the play is about, because even after seeing a very good production, and reading the text closely, there are a myriad of possibilities about how to interpret the script, and the nuances therein. The play certainly is about family relationships, sexual jealousy, gender power dynamics, and many other things to boot. And yet, Pinter never gives us an insight into what he really thinks about these things, and at times I am not even sure the characters do. And it works!
A strength of the play are the characters Max and Lenny. In Lenny especially Pinter has created a daunting and very intriguing character that can make the audience squirm in their seats. He is dark, funny, smart, and a pimp. A wonderful role for a talented performer to sink his teeth into. In fact, all of the roles have wonderful possibilities in performance.
However, the greatest power in the play lies not in what is said, but rather in what is NOT said. It is there that the reader is stimulated into following up on hints in the text, and making up most of the story for themselves in their head. The infamous "Pinter pause" is certainly on display in this work. I can imagine many interesting conversations to be had while arguing about what the play is really saying.
Some readers hate that ambiguity, I love it. It is a personal preference so be warned, if you pick up "The Homecoming" you will be left with more questions than answers.
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