Caitlin's Reviews > Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins

Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins by Nick Flynn
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Oct 04, 11

Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins: A Play by Nick Flynn
Faber and Faber, Inc., New York, 2008.

“Alice: Knock, Knock… Now you say, Who’s there?”
Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins is a very unique play. The characters draw each other in and push each other away much in the same way that they intrigue the audience only to confuse us more. With only fifty-eight pages and one setting, Nick Flynn manages to build a world containing four very different characters lead us through a twisted journey.

The play Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins is told entirely by four characters, Alice, Gideon, Esra, and Ivan, on a sidewalk in front of an apartment building. We never get to see anything besides the outside of this building, and we only have the characters’ word that they actually did anything they mention that took place out of this setting. Alice watches everything from her chair on the sidewalk, Gideon just wants to get back into “the apartment that may or may not be his” as the summary says, Esra is wasting time while waiting for her mother to come home and let her in, and Ivan keeps showing up but never gives a reason for his presence. They all seem to be stuck together under strange circumstances that could possibly be a game of Alice’s making, which is suggested by the title.

The writing style is succinct and to the point, but detailed enough for the reader to perfectly visualize everything from the setting and props to the characters’ movements. I am more used to reading film screenplays than I am reading plays so I’m not sure what is normal for a play, but I noticed that in descriptions he often left out small words like “the”. This seemed strange to me, but it worked fine; I was never confused by the writing style. Flynn described every move the characters made, including facial movements, which really helped me to visualize what they would be doing on stage.

“Unable to make sense of their predicament, let alone alter it, the four float aimlessly in and out of seeming reality…” this description given in the summary perfectly fits the characters. I felt as though they were just as confused as I was at times, and none seemed to know what to do next or how they would even go about doing it if they had an idea. The characters took turns leaving the stage to go out into the world, but all returned to the apartment building. Each character has a different reason for being there, but it was hard to tell who was being honest; Esra is the only character whose reasons for staying I understood and believed.

This book showed how to have extremely different characters interact, and how to keep your characters’ pasts and motivations mysterious while still having character development. I would definitely use the same style of characterization in my own work now that I have seen it. It was interesting to see which bonds formed between which characters as the play progressed.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.