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The Night of the Iguana

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,031 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Williams wrote: “This is a play about love in its purest terms.” It is also Williams’s robust and persuasive plea for endurance and resistance in the face of human suffering. The earthy widow Maxine Faulk is proprietress of a rundown hotel at the edge of a Mexican cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where the defrocked Rev. Shannon, his tour group of ladies from a West Tex ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published October 30th 2009 by New Directions (first published 1961)
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Lynne King
I have always wanted to read this book after seeing the film but I somehow never got around to it. It actually took the weather here in France to point me in the right direction. We have had so much rain recently that for some obscure I kept on muttering the title of this play because I knew that a storm had been involved (although I couldn’t remember in what context) from the time I saw the film.

The play is set at the Costa Verde Hotel (which appears to have known better days) in Puerto Barrio,
John Huston's 1964 adaptation of Tennessee Wiliams's Night of the Iguana is one of my dad's favorite films of all time, so I grew up knowing the characters: Reverend Larry Shannon, battling his demons after being locked out of his Episcopal church for having sex with a young Sunday-school teacher; Maxine Faulk (my hands-down favorite at the time), the crass, sexually omnivorous widow whose at whose hotel Shannon arrives, with twenty angry female Baptists in tow; the otherworldly spinster Hannah ...more
I feel like a bit of a punk giving Tennessee Williams three stars, but this didn't completely land with me. It was obviously well-written, and the characters were solid, but I don't think it has much staying power. I kept asking myself, "What's the point?" and couldn't really think of one - and that's fine, but it seemed to be striving for one and not quite making it there.

The story of an assortment of people who find themselves essentially stuck at a not exactly glamorous hotel in Mexico, the t
This is a great dark little piece about some pathetic characters at the end of their run in a 40’s Mexican hotel. Shannon is the de-frocked priest, always on the verge of a nervous breakdown, contemptuous of the American tourists he is responsible for transporting between hotels and attractions. Maxine, the “stout, swarthy woman…affable and rapaciously lusty,” handily manages the hotel on her hustling, but admits that she only has a few years left “to make this place attractive to the male clien ...more
For years, I thought was familiar with Night of the Iguana, but it seems I was remembering only bits and pieces of the John Huston film, which is very different. It was even more reinforced in my mind because I had visited Mismaloya Beach, the area south of Puerto Vallarta where the film was shot. In the end, I wound up liking the original play better, because of the touching relationship between the defrocked minister, Larry Shannon, and Hannah Jelkes. I particularly loved Shannon's description ...more
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The edition I read (ISBN 978-0-8112-1852-8) was published in 2009 by New Directions and contains a new introduction by Doug Wright and a new essay by Kenneth Holditch. Both Holditch's essay and Wright's introduction are copyright 2009, so these are fresh perspectives. Williams's 1948 short story "The Night Of The Iguana" is included, as well as the play, of course, which was first performed (on Broadway, at least) in 1961. Williams essay on the genesis of the play is here as well.
The differences
There is not a more perfect way to have read this than sitting around with friends eating fabulous food and getting drunk. Tennessee Williams makes me laugh. His characters are very "human" and realistic, which is what makes humor. Life is funny just by the tragedy of what it entails. The part of the writing that makes Williams so incredible is his descriptions of the stage direction. He uses metaphors of obscure things to explain how they should appear. I love the way he writes and I need to r ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting character study. Perhaps not as relevant today as it was when first written. Quick read, though, and I'm glad I read it again.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweetly melancholic.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013, plays
I do not read very many plays and this play reminded me of why I should read more plays. Well more plays by Tennessee Williams at least. The story takes place in 1940 in Mexico at a run down hotel run by Maxine a recently widowed ex-pat from Texas. The characters do not have very many redeeming qualities but Tennessee Williams makes it work. He makes you like these characters and feel sympathetic toward them in a way that only he can do. Maxine who is throwing herself at Shannon while she drinks ...more
Jim Leckband
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By coincidence I watched the Vivien Leigh/Marlon Brando film of A Streetcar Named Desire the weekend before reading this. Having that film (which mostly follows the play) in my head brought up some nice compare and contrast ideas.

First of all I was struck with that in "The Night of the Iguana" the reader does not know what exactly is going to happen. In Streetcar, there was little drama in any mystery of anything that was going to happen. The powderkegs of Stanley and Blanche were dry and waitin
Aaron Haberman
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Just did a full reading of this with a book club I belong to. The reading doubled as a dinner party and was tons of fun. Short of seeing it performed, a group reading was the best way of experiencing it. A great play with Williams' typical dysfunction and emotional realism. The human characters struggle to free themselves from a shackled existence and judgments of the society around them, much like the iguana for whom the play is named. Williams is one of the best at capturing human striving whe ...more
This play is one of those pieces that will haunt you for a long time after you've closed the book.
George Huxley
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion Williams' best work that I've read. What a goddam story. Every character was just another adventure. Down to the most minute detail Williams just covers it all, and always manages to convey such emotion, and sincerity, and love for his craft. Great play, I'd love to see it acted out.
Kelsey Dangelo
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De-frocked minister T. Lawrence Shannon, leading a tour group on the west coast of Mexico, nearly a mental collapse, goes to the widowed and amorous Maxime’s hotel, where he meets Hannah, a New England spinster painter traveling with her 97-year-old poet grandfather. Shannon desperately tries to avoid the temptations of a teenage girl whom he had seduced, tries to avoid the clinging jealousy and seductions of Maxime, an old flame, while finding himself deeply attracted to the innocence and human ...more
Patrick McCoy
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
The New Directions paperback copy of Tennessee Williams' masterpiece The Night of the Iguana (1961) has lots of great extras. It includes Williams' 1948 short story on which the play is based. I was inspired to read the play after seeing John Huston's great film version with Ava Gardener and Richard Burton. This volume includes an introduction written by American playwright Doug Wright, William's essay about the play "A Summer of Discovery," and an essay by scholar Kenneth Holdich "Acts of Grace ...more
I did a monologue from this play written by my very distant cousin in my first drama class at Miami U. - also my last I believe. The grades were posted and as I recall I was the only one to receive an A (-), or at any rate one of the few. I vividly remember standing in line for a conference with the prof. I overheard him tell the girl in line ahead of me that she should pursue an acting career. No such advice was directed at me and I ended up with a C in the class, one of the few in my college c ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a line that stands out for me as quintessential Williams: Bigger than life, and twice as unnatural.

The man liked drama, and even if I'm not sure what he's on about, I still appreciate his inclinations.
Sandra Vega
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teatro, papel
Creo que esta es la obra de Tennessee Williams que más me gustó hasta ahora de todas las que leí. Me gustan mucho todos sus personajes.
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movies
A great play, very detailed in set design and props. I want to act this out so badly.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sounds pretty spooky--perfect for Halloween! Can't wait to read it!
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I have to see the film.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a mike crate in Old City Philadelphia in around 1991. I had never heard of Tennessee Williams. What a find. this is my 6th or so time reading this play. It is outstanding.
Edward Cheer
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Night of the Iguana follows the story of a man named Shannon. A man with nothing to his name. He's been shamed, rejected, and yet still he hangs onto his pride and now he finds himself in an old familiar spot in Mexico where there is a slight chance of redemption.

This play calls on many religious ideas, mostly that of sacrifice and innocence from the story of Jesus Christ. We see a man who believes he has done no wrong (Though at several points in the play I was very skeptical of his asserti
Miguel Reis-abreu
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ali Azad
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
به نظر من بهترین کار ویلیامز هست
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Night of the Iguana was first performed at the Royale Theatre in New York on December 28, 1961. The setting is a rundown hotel on the tropical coast of Mexico during the early years of World War II. That global calamity, however, is far far away, only occasionally intruding in the comical form of some blustering, loudmouthed German guests. The drama here is deeply personal and intimate. Larry Shannon, a defrocked Anglican priest with a taste for teenage girls, is currently employed as a tour ...more
Nick Jones
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a teenager I watched a number of the old Hollywood adaptations of Tennessee Williams on TV: A Streetcar Named Desire with Brando and Vivien Leigh, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, Suddenly Last Summer with Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Katharine Hepburn, and The Night of the Iguana with Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. I was entranced and borrowed a number of the plays from the library. Although I’m no longer so enthusiastic about the films, I s ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams

What a great play! And there is also a movie based on the work of Tennessee Williams.
All the characters are fascinating, except perhaps for the “pool boys”, who are torturing the iguana, albeit on orders from their boss.
Shannon is at the center of it all.
He is the rugged man, with plenty of vices and failures- perhaps we could even call him “loser” in some ways.
And yet he is the coveted prize that three women want, all the major female perso
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theres something about Williams that I like. I think the fact that his characters are so tragic, and you know that when you read it but you never really know where theyr coming from. From where are their tortused based on. I think it's more that you feel it. He can simply give it away with peoples actions and words without really getting into their toughts. This is what makes his plays so good I suppose. he can express everything with words from the Characters.

"Nothing human disgusts me, Mr. Sha
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Williams' vision of life matures with this play 1 4 Jan 08, 2010 07:31AM  
  • Fifth of July
  • A Moon for the Misbegotten
  • A Delicate Balance
  • A Lie of the Mind
  • Incident at Vichy
  • Assassins
  • Plenty
  • Rock 'n' Roll
  • The Skin of Our Teeth
  • Plaza Suite
  • Bus Stop
  • The Pirates of Penzance
  • Tea and Sympathy
  • The Boys in the Band
  • Speed-the-Plow
  • Private Lives
Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee," the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ...more
More about Tennessee Williams...

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“It's almost impossible for anybody to believe that they're not loved by someone they believe they love. But honey, I love nobody.” 10 likes
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