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Recently read: Pinter's "The Homecoming"

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on July 30, 2008
Tags: book_reviews

Harold Pinter. The Homecoming

The Homecoming referred to in the title of this play is that of Teddy, a philosophy professor, returned from America to his family home in North London, with his wife of six years, Ruth. As the play progresses, Teddy’s family behaves in increasingly sexually inappropriate ways toward Ruth, but neither Teddy nor Ruth respond as one might expect. And then the play ends.

According to the Wikipedia page for this play, “the play’s earliest critics complained that it (like Pinter’s other plays) was”plotless“, as well as”meaningless" and “emotionless” (lacking character motivation), finding the play “puzzling” and not “understanding” that it might have a multiplicity of potential “meanings”." I think I can be safely counted among those who were puzzled by the play. It’s obviously not meaningless, though, since it has a sort of coherence, and even a sort of awful momentum to it. It’s obviously not inept, since the way that momentum, and the general mood of threatened sexual violence, is built is clearly skillful. But what it means, or why it’s good, if it’s good, is beyond this humble blogger.