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Fences

(The Century Cycle #6)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  21,551 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews
Librarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ISBN 13: 9780452264014

In the powerful, stunning dramatic work that won August Wilson his first Pulitzer Prize, Troy Maxson has gone through life in a country where to be proud and black was to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s.
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Paperback, 101 pages
Published June 1986 by Plume
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Sarah agreed. I hated how he treated his son and Rose---after he confessed to her, he started to get defensive rather than apologetic. gah, he was annoying!
Reed I think my Mom and Nana want to go see it I'll ask them.…moreI think my Mom and Nana want to go see it I'll ask them.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  21,551 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews


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Brina
Fences, a new movie starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, is a Pulitzer Prize winning drama by August Wilson. Part of Wilson's Century cycle of plays each depicting one decade of African American life during the 20th century, Fences takes us back to the 1950s when African Americans were first beginning to make inroads into white society.

Troy Maxson has been married to Rose for eighteen years. A family man, he has worked as a garbage collector alongside his closest friend Bono during this
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Bill Kerwin

Whenever I think of Troy, I think of James Earl Jones, the man who created the part. Sure, I saw Denzel Washington in the movie, and Denzel is pretty good in it too, but Troy should be played by a man tall enough and broad enough for tragedy: a massive man, with a massive voice, like ol’ Daddy Darth Vader his own self.

August Wilson’s Fences--the greatest play written by an African-American and one of the finest plays written by anybody anywhere—is the story of middle-aged Troy Maxson, once a leg
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Majenta
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in college for my "The Drama" course. I'm looking forward to watching the film. ...more
Bettie
Description: "In his work, Mr. Wilson depicted the struggles of black Americans with uncommon lyrical richness, theatrical density and emotional heft, in plays that give vivid voices to people on the frayed margins of life." The New York Times

From August Wilson, author of The Piano Lesson and the 1984-85 Broadway season's best play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is another powerful, stunning dramatic work that has won him numerous critical acclaim including the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play and the
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Sr3yas
3.5 Stars

1987 Pulitzer prize winner for drama
"Some people build fences to keep people out and other people build fences to keep people in"

Fences is a very interesting period drama set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the year is 1957. The story is all about Troy, a 53 years old African-American and his family. We get to experience Troy's relationship with various members of the play and each of them is unique.

We are exposed to many themes here: Racism, family values, relationships, a
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Adira
I highly recommend this play! I saw it performed live in the West End and was blown away. The play itself has so many raw pieces of the African-American culture woven into it that you can't help, but feel as if Wilson is talking to you as he writes the play. It sort of feels like he looked into a piece of your soul and wrote what was hidden deep inside of it. Even if you're not of African or African-American descent, you'll find something in this play to love. The play is a quick read and worth ...more
Mark Villareal
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw the original play back in 1985 with James Earl Jones and a young Courtney B. Vance. With the release of the movie with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis I was compelled to add the book to my reading list. The book is truly fulfilling as the author does a marvelous job drawing you into each character, but also the time frame and the settings. This is not done in a hurry but with effective storytelling and description. Like many stories put into movies, this book goes deeper for the reader t ...more
Deb
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fences is Phenomenal

What a wonderful play. I wish I had seen the original starring James Earl Jones as Troy Maxson and Mary Alice as Rose. At the beginning of the book it lists the original players and mentally they fit perfectly. I pictured them the whole time. Even though I have never seen this live there is so much life in August Wilson's words that just reading it you can almost see the play.
I feel the need to apologize to the memory of August Wilson for living in his birth city and the
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♥ Sandi ❣
No surprise - great play - an August Wilson play.
An average black man in the 1950's - trying his best to make his way in an average American city. Working hard, looking for more, and knowing that his chances are slim to none. The expectations of his wife and children, his expectation of himself and running from both. Responsibilities, vulnerabilities, infidelities and expectations are all witnessed in this short play.
This will be a movie in 2017. Reenacted by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
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Rick
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Fences, the sixth in the ten play cycle by August Wilson, takes place in 1957, two years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, ten years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line that by a so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” kept African-American players out of the major leagues (but two years before the Red Sox became the last team to include a black player on their team), six years before the March on Washington, seven and eight years before the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In ...more
Leslie
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, books-i-teach
A great American drama. The writing is masterful, obviously, but what struck me most on this first reading is the complexity of responses that Wilson evokes from the reader/audience. I am a middle aged Caucasian AP Lit teacher, so while some might expect my reactions to center on the African American experience, what struck me first was the recognizable conflicts between father and son, husband and wife, man and woman. I felt a kinship to Troy, Cory and Rose, even while I watched the fruits (con ...more
Deirdre Keating
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aidan has been telling me to read this since his Honors English class read it in October. I finally picked it up (to better understand the essay he wrote about it) and devoured it in an hour or two. Talk about dense story-telling! Closer to poetry in a way, capturing so much in so few words. I will never forget Troy, who reminded me of a more-alive version of Willy Loman. Highly recommended.
Josh Caporale
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fences is a play about race. It is also a play written about family struggles that any family can relate to and endure, but to be a black family in 1957 is an even greater challenge. August Wilson does an outstanding job capturing the moment through the primary perspective of a 53-year-old garbageman in Troy Maxson and a family that can be described as typical in the way that they are everything BUT typical. Fences is the kind of play that is easy to read, but at the same time it makes you want ...more
Eliza
Nov 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
1 Star

I really did not enjoy this. Literally, I could not find one thing that I enjoyed in this play. Nothing. There was not one character I could connect to or identity with. So, if I wasn't bored, I was mad at Troy for being so blatantly sexist.

Honestly, plays just aren't my thing, so I cannot wait until the day I no longer have to read them for English classes.
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Sidik Fofana
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SIX WORD REVIEW: For Negro leaguers banned from majors.
Jonfaith
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Papa was like a shadow that followed you everywhere. It weighed on you and sunk into your flesh.

Reading this play here in Alabama has been moving, nearly cathartic. We just left the Legacy Museum and walked back through the terrible heat to decompress. My entitlement kept me quiet today. As I sat here in this historic sitting area my heart broke for Troy Manson. History was against him. The Greatest Generation was just cover for white supremacy. He anticipates mass incarceration in his own escap
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Maya B
I enjoyed this play. August wilson brings to light how difficult it was for african-americans to survive during segregated times. It was written as a drama with a dash of comedy. Wilson also gave an outstanding visual of family dynamics. I'm glad I read it and I cant wait for the movie to come out December 25th ...more
Himanshu Karmacharya
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
"Some people build fences to keep people out...and other people build fences to keep people in."

Fences is a period drama set in the '50s. It introduces a number of vivid characters, who seem so life-like. The play is not free from the prejudices of that time including racism and sexism, and depicts it in a very realistic fashion. The plot isn't extraordinary, but the writing, setting, and the allegories, seizes the readers until the end.
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El
This was the ninth and last of the Pittsburgh-related books I was able to get to out of the total of 10 before last night's Battle of the Books tournament.

Much like most of my reading experiences, this is probably something I read in high school for class and then remembered nothing about it. Or maybe, now that I live in Pittsburgh, it is so highly referenced (for good reason) that it became one of those plays that I just figured I read, even though maybe I didn't actually.

This is a quick read,
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Ify
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been meaning to read this since I saw the incredible film adaptation. There were several bits of this play that were super compelling: the scene where Cory asks his dad, Troy, why he doesn't love him; the scene where Rose lets Troy know that she's been faithful to him in the past the 18 years of their marriage (I can't help but conjure Viola Davis' face in my mind when I read "I've been standing in the same spot with you!"), and the scene where Cory tells his mother that he's not going to h ...more
Christine
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was way too short. I didn't feel any attachment to really any of the characters either. Things happened way too fast and randomly, as well. ...more
Mya
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed it; I thought I wasn't going to but it was insightful. ...more
Lulu
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved it!!! Wish I could see the play, can't wait to see the movie! ...more
Terry
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first Act of this play. I even enjoyed scene 1 of Act II. After that, however, it was all downhill. The end was too fast and too much happening with little development and rushed resolutions to the various stories. The first Act was absolutely great! Great language and flow, character development etc. I don't understand how the second Act fell apart so much, but, hey, this won the Pulitzer Prize for literature; so, what do I know!? lol ...more
Laura
A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

A movie was made based on this play, with Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson . Directed by Denzel Washington.
Henry
Jun 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, moving and important.
Dusty
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Suddenly, this play about an African American garbageman struggling to accept middle age and mortality is everywhere. It is printed in nearly all of the literature anthologies I have been thumbing through for my upcoming class on "Literary Diversity," and it has been turned into a movie starring the apparently Oscar-worthy team of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. I figured it was time I stopped planning to read it and, you know, actually read it.

Like Death of a Salesman and so many other theat
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Kristy Miller
Fences is about the Maxson family. Troy works as a garbage man in Philadelphia, and is questioning why only white men get to be drivers. His teenage son, Corey, is trying to convince his dad to let him play football, and get recruited by a college. His older son, Lyons, is drifting between music gigs. His brother, who sustained a head injury and mental damage in WWII, has moved out, taking his monthly payment from the government with him. Rose, Troy's wife, is the glue that holds the family toge ...more
Nicole Homich
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fences is a heart-rending picture of an African American family doing the best that they can in the North that rejected them after their migration from the South. Troy is a hard man, but he is someone that you have to feel for because of all the obstacles that have stood in his way from birth.

*Spoiler-ish*

Post-slavery, Troy's sharecropper father was a terror to his wives and children, abusing the only power he had, to the point where Troy walked the 200 miles then hitched a ride to "freedom" in
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Phillip III
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1 Minute Video Book Review:
https://youtu.be/t2WB_oa6XFM

"Can't visit the sins of the father upon the child."

A few summers back, August Wilson's play, FENCES, was performed at a local theater. I missed every performance. That was upsetting. I love seeing plays. Recently, I saw that FENCES was being made into a major motion picture with Denzel Washington. With renewed interest, I ordered the play, and read it in one sitting.

FENCES is set in the 1950s. The Acts mostly take place on Fridays. Payday.
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Around the Year i...: Fences, by August Wilson 1 10 Jun 02, 2019 12:38PM  

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August Wilson was an American playwright. His literary legacy is the ten play series, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the twentieth century.

Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel, Jr. in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the fourth
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Other books in the series

The Century Cycle (10 books)
  • Gem of the Ocean
  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • The Piano Lesson
  • Seven Guitars
  • Two Trains Running
  • Jitney
  • King Hedley II
  • Radio Golf

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14 likes · 2 comments
“When the sins of our fathers visit us
We do not have to play host.
We can banish them with forgiveness
As God, in his His Largeness and Laws.”
46 likes
“Don't you think I ever wanted other things? Don't you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me. Don't you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? That I wanted someone to make me laugh so I could feel good? You not the only one who's got wants and needs. But I held on to you, Troy. I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams...and I buried them inside you. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn't take me no eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn't never gonna bloom.” 40 likes
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