Asa Leventhal works as a journalist on a trade paper in just post-war New York. It is very hot. His wife is away, helping her mother to move house. He get a call from his brother's wife (his brother is working away) about her very sick son and he has to trek across the city to help. Then, in the park, he meets a man he knew years ago who explains that Asa ruined his life.
The dialogue reminds me of Beckett, it is stilted and sometimes you get the feeling that neither character is actually talking to the other but rather that they are both rehearsing their own anxieties. But the matter-of-fact way in which the stranger, Albee, insinuates himself into Leventhal's life, trading on Leventhal's guilt and good will, and the way in which this relationship changes the way that Leventhal acts to others, making him paranoid and angry, is like a Pinter play. Add in the nightmarish quality of the setting, New York in a heat wave, full of dark and shadows, but at the same time rooted in mundane reality, everyday and banal, is pure Kafka.
An Anerican classic. December 2014; 264 pages
- Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57