The Dwarfs

dwarfsThe Dwarfs
by Harold Pinter
published in 1992 but written in the 1950s, 184 pages
Rating:  8  –  mid 20th century lit

I hadn’t read anything by Harold Pinter, who was the recipient of the 2005 Nobel prize in literature until now.   The Committee gave it to Pinter who,  “in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”

Okay – so is that a clue?  We basically have three young men, Len the bus driver,  Mark who is an actor (p. 61)  and Pete, a office clerk  of some kind (p . They all live in the same small apartment which is the usual setting.   Mark insists the room is moving.   and sometimes outside. .There is also a cat in the room but sometimes it goes out – as do the characters.  In fact that’s what they all want – out –  out of the walls of the sexual and emotional limits on their lives.

Len talks about the room and change –  he also sees Dwarfs.  There’s a lot of dream talk in this book

The guys go through a lot of male-type competition and banter creating tension but it’s  Pete’s girlfriend Virginia who becomes a major focal point of the drama – and that’s what this book really is.

A  lot of fast paced dialogue takes up many of the pages although there are frequent monologues form one or the other of the characters.  Much of the chit-chat is basically the kind  the linguists say we really do in our kitchen-lives – at least stylistically.    Each character acts and talks as his job would indicate – Len the bus driver (?) is at least a  bit paranoid (I think it’s his apartment).  Mark is artsy and talks literature and acting,  gets on well with the girls.   And Pete the office worker  is logical – presents whole analyses of stuff.   Len thinks of himself  as a corner, Pete may be the walls and Mark the roof?

Actually,  it’s a lot of 1950s existential stuff mixed with a bit of James Joyce stream of consciousness and perhaps Beckett.  Pinter was in his 20s in the 1950s when he wrote this and that shows.  I suppose it’s quite good but I’m not a fan of existential lit and the theme of the absurd or meaninglessness of life – it’s been done I guess.

Grosse Fuge – Beethoven – YouTube:

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