An Inspector Calls and Other Plays
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An Inspector Calls and Other Plays

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  5,050 ratings  ·  255 reviews
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 29th 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1945)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark
May 19, 2012 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely anyone with a pulse
Recommended to Mark by: Mr William Flint, english teacher extraordinaire
Shelves: favorites
Re-read this last week and then realized I have never added it to my books. This is one of the most satisfyingly riveting plays i have ever read, seen in the theatre (three times), watched in film (Alastair Sims, goodness only knows how many times) listened to on the radio and now I have an audiobook version. Thus i can now luxuriate, whenever I feel the need to experience the wonderful schadenfreude of the gradual implosion of the horrendous edifice of arrogance which is the middle class Birlin...more
Nandakishore Varma
The proscenium stage has a romance of its own. You, the spectator, is actually a Peeping Tom, staring into the lives of total strangers through the invisible fourth wall. And what lives! For on the stage, time and space are usually compressed or telescoped according to the whims and fancies of the playwright. Passions are exaggerated on purpose, and action proceeds at an unbelievable pace; all the while retaining the semblance of normality (this is not essential for an arena stage, where the unr...more
Jonathan
With its tightly wound and didactic plot 'An Inspector Calls' is among the finer examples of the play world. While not as fanciful or elaborate as some of the greatest works by masters such as Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde in his style Priestly manages to pull off what he must. It is in fact the simplicity of his work that creates such an appeal, because it touches more at the heart of humanity and society.

The narrative of the play delves around a mysterious Inspector who interrupts the celebratio...more
Manny
If it were an Agatha Christie, it'd sort of be Orient Express crossed with Roger Ackroyd. Perhaps she bet Priestley that those two plots couldn't be combined?

(view spoiler)...more
MacK
Searching desperately for a fall play to direct, I was handed this brilliant bit of writing, and fell hard and fast.

It's like when you first see a television show that immediatly hooks you. Taut, concise writing that holds you in the moment and a twisting plot line that leaves you guessing until the very end.

It's shocking that this book is largely ignored by Americans (witness the fact that only a few more than 50 people have reviewed it here on "goodreads"). Perhaps the setting and tone lend it...more
Goddess
I first read this play when I was 14. I didn't understand all the socio-economic and political issues until I was 19. It was during this period that I became a confirmed socialist (or rather left leaning in my politics).

When I first read the play - I remember a few classmates being confused that one family encountered the same girl, which went beyond coincidence - far too contrived. This is NOT the case - that's just a twist - if you had assumed that than you'll not be able to sympathise with Ev...more
Hayley
Although I read this at school and that usually puts you off a book I did actually quite enjoy reading this play. I liked the Inspector although he was rather creepy but I thought it was an intreresting and captivating charachter who is also rather mysterious. I liked the whole point of this play, and that was to show people that looking after yourself and treating people however you want to is not a good way to lead your life and there are consuquences for this. I liked how it showed how the yo...more
Ally Atherton
I stole this from my son who is studying it as part of his high school curriculum. Having a teenage son can be highly challenging, sometimes entertaining, but occasionally it has its advantages!

Arthur Billing and his family have just finished a special meal to celebrate the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, to Gerald Croft, the son of a business rival.
Everything seems to be going hunky-dory and Sheila has literally just put the ring on her finger when there is a knock at the door. In walks a...more
Nina
While I didn't fully enjoy reading this play, I am sure it is pretty exciting on stage.

(view spoiler)...more
A.U.C.
May 08, 2011 A.U.C. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: theatre entuthiasts
A pesar de que he leído pocas obras dramáticas (MUY pocas) esta me motivó a leerlos más. Es una lectura diferente, reservada a lo que uno ve y olle, y por ende, debe imaginarse mucho más. ¿Qué estaran pensando los personajes, cómo serán los personajes más allá de lo que vemos representado? Y parte de la genialidad de esta obra es la facilidad con la que uno podía visualizar la representación, y yo me la imaginaba tensa, conflictiva, entretenida; en fin, una muy buena obra. Creo que va más allá d...more
Vanessa
I read this in one sitting, which i think is the best way to really get into this play. Despite being a little sceptical about the content, I really enjoyed this play.
Set around 6 main characters and an additional one who never actually appears, the plot and the ending is very thought provoking. I originally read this at the same time as my cousin for his GSCE studies but I enjoyed it enough to want to read more by J B Priestly.
Georgia
i had to read this book for school i expected not to enjoy it because of my teachers passion to stop after every few lines and comment, but i did enjoy the book one of the best i've read in the last few months the plot was well thought out and unexpected and the characters all fitted in well with the story definitely a book i could read again :)
Soph
Another book I read at school and have re-read since because it was brilliant. The mystery was just great with lots of twists and turns!
Ellie
I love this play, I have seen it perfromed and been in it myself.
It's a brilliant study of the potential of human cruelty, and how we often don't think how are actions affect others in the long term.

Something that seems small or trivial to us can actually impact heavily and negatively on other people.

It has great twists and turns, and definately keeps you guessing all the way through, although I would say it's probably far better to try and see it performed rather than read it, as I think it co...more
Rosie Donson
Short but sweet. The best play I have read so far. Imagine enjoying a family celebration when in walks police inspector. Somehow he makes you and your family admit everything to each other. Does this make your relationships better or worse? You expect the plot to twist but once round the first bend it just twists and turns until you realise how naïve you are, even if that is less so than some of the characters in the play. A very easy read, I would recommend to everyone! Am very much looking for...more
Shivani
May 10, 2014 Shivani rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Shivani by: school
This is actually a play and that aspect doesnt appeal to me very much. Also i studied this in school and am going to have to sit exams next year revising quotes and such. so eventhough we analysed the play to the point of a needle (is that something you can even say? haha) i stilll enjoyed the play very much. This is fantastically written and always has you asking for more. The cliff hangers and the foreshadowing and its is just overall an AMAZING book and i cant stress that enough. i see myself...more
Elle May
In terms of a book that highlights relevant social ideologies and opinions there is no better book. Priestley forces the reader to analyse perceptions of gender, age, class and social responsibility. We see the way the older characters constantly try to blame others for their crimes and find ways out of tight holes. Ironically they are the ones who believe they hold a moral high ground, and yet their solutions to everything include lying.

Sheila, the daughter in her twenties proves to be the mos...more
Dean Tsang
I had to reread this book as a requirement to help tutor English students revising for their English GCSE exams. I already read it a few years ago, but I thought I'd give myself a refresher.

This is a fantastic play, and follows all the basic elements of scriptwriting fantastically. It can be confusing to grasp at first, as you're dealing with five characters at once within the first two pages. But as the play continues the characters quickly develop their own individuality. This is further reinf...more
Neetha Philip
This was a play we performed in my senior year. The minute i reached the ending i was so excited i wanted to tell my friends about it, have them read it. Sadly, I also wanted it to be a suprise for them so I kept my mouth shut..mostly! It was really fun working on- mostly because our Inspector Goole wanted an ass tattoo of daisy renton, everyone kept telling sheila to shut up and our director was a tad bit crazy. Not in a bad way.
Chin Hwa
'An Inspector Calls' is a suspenseful play with a slight tendency towards moral heavy-handedness. The well-to-do Birling family are enjoying an intimate dinner party at their home to celebrate the engagement of their daughter to a socially respectable young man. With a surprise visit from an inspector, their joyful mood is derailed as they begin to realise how each one of them is implicated in the suicide of a young woman.

The plot can be a bit predictable and the dialogue lack subtlety. However,...more
Katherine Anderson
Very quick to read with a clever twist at the end. The characters are interesting and, given the short length of the play, very three-dimensional. The stage directions are worth giving your attention to in order to fully understand the play and the characters' emotions; it is a play after all.
Caroline
Read this to help my son with his GCSE, having seen it many years ago in the theatre. What a clever story, written to reflect the time period between 1912 and 1946 when so much was happening. It is especially clever since so much of it is still relevant today, the class divide and what our definitions are of social status, clothes, perceptions, homes, etc. The tale is told of the death of a poor girl who has been touched by each character in the book during the last few years and therefore each...more
Katie Huxtable
Read this in class as part of my GCSE Literature Exam. As it is a play and I am also a drama freak I was eager to volunteer to read in, and was picked to read in as Sheila. I found myself thoroughly enjoying every lesson and was absolutely gutted when the book came to an end. Who doesn't love to get there teeth into a murder mystery?! As for the ending, don't even get me started on the ending.

The book covers many themes and written by Priesley many of his socialist views come across through the...more
Best
4.5
I think it's amazing. It's creepy, also.
Anna Caffyn
I read this for my English class, therefore I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it turned out! I was interested to read this book as I knew my dad had gone to see the play and said it was brilliant. I thought this book was really cleverly written (particularly the ending!) and I found myself desperate to know what secrets would appear next. This book made me think much more about the effect we have on other peoples lives. It was very interesting to see how each family member reacted different...more
Jo Macklin
Apr 16, 2014 Jo Macklin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literature/arts lovers
Shelves: classics
I love this play, although have never seen it as a play I can see it all so clearly and vividly. There is so little that happens, but yet, at the same time, so much that happens. It is all set in one room in one house, around the dinner table. Through conversations you find out a little bit about each character - but then as the time goes on you find out so much more and that is when the real story begins. The characters are all so beautifully thought out and I really would call it a work of art...more
Hope Davies
This is one a play that got me into Literature.
If you love book's alone I don't see any reason why you wouldn't like this... Though one of my friends believe's that play's are lazy books.
Though I don't really believe you wouldn't like this play just because it has stage directions once you started reading it.
The inspector is amazing, and if you have ever watched 12 angry men you will notice it has that sort of feeling to it.
This family is very arrogant to the world they live in and the Inspec...more
Naile Berna
I didn't read this book,but watched the play by Remmy Bumppo Theatre Company in Chicago. Here are my thoughts after the play:


I’ve been a season subscriber for the last 6 years and never missed a single play. This is was the first time I was disappointed with the choice of play. Some of the messages conveyed were so outright wrong and emotional. A cry baby being unreasonably emotional (the daughter) and a preaching unrealistic adult (the inspector) about high unachievable ideals. It is clear at t...more
Ana Ruiz
Although I have read few plays, J.B. Priestley's work with An Inspector Calls showed me how much I was missing out on; a different type of reading, one that is exclusively reserved to what the reader can picture hearing and seeing, and thus, imagination is let loose on a bigger scale.
What could the characters be thinking, how must the characters be beyond what we are seeing represented on stage? And part of the genius of this play is the ease with which one can visualize the representation, and...more
Aline
This play was fantastic. I don't usually read plays as much as I read novels, but because reading this play was so incredible I definitely want to start reading more plays. Priestley wrote this play during the period after WWII and people were really traumatized with the events that took place, nevertheless the play takes place in a time before WWI. The whole play happens in the period of a single night in the Birling family, a wealthy, snobbish family. Priestley often uses adverbs to describe h...more
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John Boynton Priestley, the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Bradford in September 1894, and after schooling he worked for a time in the local wool trade. Following the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Priestley joined the British Army, and was sent to France --in 1915 taking part in the Battle of Loos. After being wounded in 1917 Priestley returned to England for six months; then, after going...more
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“We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.” 17 likes
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