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The Homecoming

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,514 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
In an old and slightly seedy house in North London there lives a family of men: Max, the aging but still aggressive patriarch; his younger, ineffectual brother Sam; and two of Max's three sons, neither of whom is married -- Lenny, a small-time pimp, and Joey, who dreams of success as a boxer. Into this sinister abode comes the eldest son, Teddy, who, having spent the past ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 11th 1994 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1957)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeWaiting for Godot by Samuel BeckettRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time
81st out of 317 books — 287 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Best Plays Ever
161st out of 652 books — 821 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 21, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I reread this after reading The Birthday Party & The Room: Two Plays just the other day and it's a natural progression for both Pinter and the reader. The decrepit boardinghouses of the two earlier plays have become an old family home; the characters are more developed; the dialogue is richer and both more and less nuanced. The woman is still a focal point, but she no longer jabbers to herself because the men in her life tune her out: she is reflective, quietly assertive, and silent on her o ...more
Jon Ginn
Sep 13, 2009 Jon Ginn rated it it was amazing
Incredibly disturbing...

Without painting broad strokes of flagrant violence, obscene language, or the like, Pinter still manages to create an environment of unparalleled menace. His tools are simply language (or, rather, what isn't said) and layers of paradox that rise from a triumviri of inconsistent character behaviors, statuses, and conceptions of the past.

While reading, I found myself continually doubting the "validity" of what nearly every character did and said. Did I mention this play is
Amir Shamsi
May 12, 2014 Amir Shamsi rated it really liked it
Shelves: analyzed, life-lesson
True-absurd play that teaches you life through its characters and plots. "The Homecoming" by Harold Pinter could be named as one of the family-drama revolutionary plays beside Ibsen's "A Doll's House", in which the story does not have lots of ups and downs and follows a very slow-action storyline. At the face value of its scenes, there is nothing to be called charming but in the nut shell of it context there is tons to be discussed, questioning the structure of family and paying attention to fem ...more
Nov 18, 2014 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-drama
Absurdity at its finest. I do not know whether to be appalled or sad or mad or grief-stricken by this play. Truly Pinteresque!
Matt Pelletier
May 14, 2014 Matt Pelletier rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Rikhtegar
May 11, 2014 John Rikhtegar rated it it was amazing
I thought the play "The Homecoming" by Harold Pinter is a very interesting piece of work. It truly is a play that you can not compare to others and can promise excitement and confusion throughout the play. Before reading this piece, I really did not know what to expect and from reading each page, my imagination just kept growing. This play contains numerous theme, but the main themes would be considered sex, power and gender equality. Set in 1975, women were known to have very little power, and ...more
May 09, 2014 Lan-linh rated it it was ok
The homecoming is a two-act play published in 1965 by Harold Pinter. It has often been the subject of critique and debate since it was first published, exposing issues relating to sex, power and gender roles. The play has 6 characters: Max the aging patriarch, his younger brother Sam, Max’s sons Lenny, who is a pimp, Joey, who dreams of being a boxer and Teddy, a philosophy teacher in America. Teddy brings home his wife Ruth to visit his family for the first time.

The plot of the story is simple
May 09, 2014 Paulina rated it it was ok
I found that this novel was a little strange. I think that there was a lot of hidden meaning in the story such as feminism indications. I found that the way that the characters speak to each other was a little strange, which made the reading of the book a little bit more challenging. I thought that the ending was very strange, and for me, the ending ruined the novel for me. I didn't understand it which made me really confused and upset about it. I did not necessarily enjoy reading this novel ver ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
I have never read anything quite like The Homecoming before and it was not the type of literature I typically read. The play was not my most favorite thing I have read but I found myself discussing it with many members of my family and friends. I had trouble following the story line and relating to the characters and why they acted the way they did. I especially had a hard time relating to the character of Ruth for the main reason of her abrupt decision to not return home to her children. Howeve ...more
May 13, 2014 Adam rated it liked it

The Homecoming is an entertaining play and I enjoyed reading it. While the story is slow at times the interaction and struggle between the characters makes up for it. I like how Pinter criticized how men just assume women will play certain roles in the world and how women puzzlingly go along with them. The final seen was quite powerful with Ruth in a position of power over all of the male characters. Albeit vulgar at times, Pinter’s use of crude references and profanity make the play seem much m
Sep 02, 2014 Malemnganbi rated it liked it
Beware! The name of the title might fool you. Homecoming is about this guy coming home with his new wife who his other family members knows nothing about, even the marriage, but the essence lies in its dialogues that confuse you in the first reading. The dialogue is both hilarious and ridiculous at the same time. One is bound to ask the question, is this even possible? Then again, the whole plot itself is a parody and one accepts the story as a spoof of the superficial life we live in the age of ...more
Michelle Rugamba
May 03, 2014 Michelle Rugamba rated it liked it
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter is an interesting and unique book of its own. If you are in the mood for a thought provoking novel on power struggles, dysfunctional family dynamics, and gender struggles as well, then this is the right book for you. This book will keep you on your toes as it never has dull moments throughout the novel. I personally found myself connected to a few characters in the book as it is a very relatable book, especially to this generation. This book will make you question ...more
May 13, 2014 Murrizi rated it it was amazing
The novel "The Homecoming" by the well-known author Harold Pinter was by far the most thought-provoking and powerful of the few I studied this year. The plot consisted of a male dominated household who is slowly dethroned from power by the wit and cleverness of one woman. Through the contrast and differences between the two studied figures, male and female, Harold Pinter was able to highlight that power can be achieved through use of language. All in all, it was a novel I read nearly three times ...more
May 13, 2014 Jonny rated it it was amazing
A very fascinating novel that takes us into a male dominating milieu to reassure the audience of the power of women. Now seen like this, it might not make a lot of sense but it is a very well crafted story that will plunge you into a disturbing family in London. Sex, stereotypes and twists are on the menu. I enjoyed reading the book because it asserted many topics seen as taboos. Voyeurism, moral corruption, infidelity. I do not want to give away anything but you will find yourself in the middle ...more
Elisa Rhodes
May 12, 2014 Elisa Rhodes rated it really liked it
"The Homecoming" by Harold Pinter is not like any other play that I have read before. The play exposes issues of sex and power in a realistic, yet in an aesthetic manner. During the beginning and towards the middle of the play, as the reader you can see that women do not have any power, and they are treaded poorly. As you come towards the end of the play, it is evident that the roles shift as the women in the play, Ruth, demonstrate power over the men.

I would recommend this play to anyone who i
Jul 24, 2012 Pooriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
یک نمایشنامه منسجم و دوست داشتنی از مرد دوست داشتنی تآتر جهان. مثل بقیه کارهای پینتر دیالوگها پر بود از سوءتفاهمها و دیالوگهای بلندی که به مونولوگ شبیه میشد، دیالوگهای بیهودهای که توضیحات اضافه انسانها بود (چیزی که در دنیای مدرن بین افراد اتفاق میوفته).
اصلیترین موردی که در این نمایشنامه به چشم میخوره بحث مادر-معشوقه هستش. زن به مثابه اوبژه در دنیای مدرن و خانواده هستهای. حتی این اوبژه شدگی زن در بین قشر روشنفکر و آکادمیک (که نمایندهش تدی هستش و دیگر همکارانش که قرار مشتریهای ماشین-بدن روت شوند)
Oct 22, 2012 Ana rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brown Bear
Oct 20, 2010 Brown Bear rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite plays, a great work, even for Pinter. The plot may seem arbitary to most, bordering on the pointless. But the imagery created and the constant power struggles between the main characters make for an amazing read. Once again, i can't stress enough how much better it is to see a play performed, there is, however, a great film adaptation of this which does a good job of getting the story line across. The best thing about this play is its use of the unspoken word, the constant us ...more
Annie Marland
Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming is a twisted work full of misogynistic male characters and one strong female character that will play games with your mind. Set in an old house in North London during the summer, the play dictates the story of a family of three brothers, Teddy, Lenny, and Joey, their father Max, and his brother Sam. There is only one woman in the play, Ruth, who is Teddy’s wife. The play tells the story of Ruth and Teddy’s “homecoming”. It publicizes the issues of power and sex in ...more
Salikh Tursunov
After reading this book you start to think differently than you used to do. The book is written by great author Harold Pinter, who has numerous published books. The Homecoming, one of the masterpieces by Harold Pinter, where he shows the power of the female character and the use of beauty in men's society. The play takes place in one room with returning sun and his wife from US back home to England where he has brothers and dad.
Ok sure Ruth likes to get around. Yes this might never happen and yes the play is very twisted. It includes profanity and just plain wrong scenes, conversations, actions etc; but I don't see the need to label it as horrible or the worst ever. It has its beauty: complex plot and amazing characters that kept true to themselves from beginning to end.I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they would say next and I was always wrong. Well it did make me kind of sick and embarrassed but that w ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
There are a few authors (more often playwrites than novelists) from a certain school that seem to be able to get away with seemingly doing the same thing again and again, and Pinter is one of those to me. His form seems to be "amass a group of insane characters together with one straight man, and then let them play out their various madnesses."
In this play, he does that, but as the play went on, it turned into a disturbing criticism of the roles men expect women to play in the world and women's
Nov 11, 2009 Resa rated it it was amazing

"Very few people in the world understand this play, and Harold Pinter refuses to let anyone in on his secret." Dr. Magidson told my class. "When I directed this play, a couple people threw-up."

The setting of this play is simple: a grown-up, educated, man and wife visits his dad and brothers in the house they grew up in. But right off the bat, the reader realizes that even the simple plot is mixed with this absurd "Waiting For Godot" conversation.

A highlight of the absurdity:
-The dad tr
Trever Polak
This wasn't as good as The Birthday Party, and it's much more cryptic, but Pinter really can rip the mask off of human interaction. This one's much more realistic than The Birthday Party; it depicts a dysfunctional London family, whose oldest son, who's been in America for six years with his wife (who he eloped with immediately before leaving London). No spoilers, but the strange ending depicts the same kind of isolation as that of The Birthday Party. Pinter is definitely becoming a favorite.
Feb 05, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
"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
Malcolm Hebron
Dec 16, 2015 Malcolm Hebron rated it really liked it
I studied The Homecoming for A Level a fair few years ago, and found it uber-cool, an accessory to self-indulgent teenage nihilism along with Beckett, Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen. I suppose in its day Pinter's early work was a sort of theatrical punk, a much-needed kick in the chops for audiences used to plays by Rattigan and the like - works which had things like character development, plots, subplots and a moral vision. All of which can get stifling, one must admit. So a dose of dis ...more
Apr 21, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
This play was interesting in the way it sent the message of female empowerment. It made me think and dig deeper to see what the true message was. Because the male figures were outwardly appearing to have strength and power through their confident natures it would appear that they were in control. That was my first impression because I recognize those aspects as characteristics of powerful people. However as we read through I realized that the more threatened they felt especially in Max’s case th ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Russell rated it did not like it
Shelves: plays
What did I just read?

I didn't like this. I didn't understand the characters' motivations. I didn't understand what was going on. It just made me feel bad.

Maybe if I saw it. Maybe I read the meaning behind the words wrong.

But it was creepy and weird.

I feel like I should be able to tell whether the father molested his sons or not. That should be obvious by the end, right? Or what does it say about me that it's this ambivalent part of the play?

And that's just it - I didn't really get it.
Emma Donnelly
May 12, 2014 Emma Donnelly rated it really liked it
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter was certainly an interesting play filled with humour. Set in London, England the play explores the power struggle of a patriarchal and dysfunctional family in openly accepting a beautiful and intelligent woman into the home front. It becomes aware to the reader that a woman who owns their sexuality becomes a very powerful woman indeed. The struggle for the male characters to dominate her prove ineffective because of their own infatuations and lust for her.
Koen Kop
Oct 07, 2014 Koen Kop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Quite a few books you read/movies and plays you watched in your youth tend to disappoint when you are of a "ripe/mature" age - but this play, which I saw on stage in London at age eighteen, had not lost any of its riveting qualities when I read it tonight, thirty-six years later - within the space of less than two hours. In less than a hundred pages Pinter manages to turn the grotesque into the plausible by making an eerily antisocial milieu come to life. "Chapeau"!
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Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet. He was one of the most influential playwrights of modern times. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

After publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, Pinter began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring throughout Ireland. From 1952,
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“You wouldn't understand my works. You wouldn't have the faintest idea of what they were about. You wouldn't appreciate the points of reference. You're way behind. All of you. There's no point in sending you my works. You'd be lost. It's nothing to do with a question of intelligence. It's a way of being able to look at the world. It's a question of how far you can operate on things and not in things. I mean it's a question of your capacity to ally the two, to relate the two, to balance the two. To see, to be able to see! I'm the one who can see. That's why I can write my critical works. Might do you good...have a look at them...see how certain people can certain people can maintain...intellectual equilibrium. Intellectual equilibrium. You're just objects. You just...move about. I can observe it. I can see what you do. It's the same as I do. But you're lost in it. You won't get me being...I won't be lost in it.” 22 likes
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