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The Family Reunion

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A modern verse play dealing with the problem of man’s guilt and his need for expiation through his acceptance of responsibility for the sin of humanity. “What poets and playwrights have been fumbling at in their desire to put poetry into drama and drama into poetry has here been realized.... This is the finest verse play since the Elizabethans” (New York Times).
Paperback, 132 pages
Published March 18th 1964 by Mariner Books (first published 1939)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  446 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Alok Mishra
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Verse - superb!
Handling of a day in play - amazing!
T. S. Eliot's Christian faith has come in plenty in this play. However, even if you ignore the superb handling of the play, you will be amazed just by the sonorous sounds... just read it!
Dannii Elle
Oh, Eliot! Why does your brilliance continue to allude me?

Whilst I can appreciate the philosophical nature of the piece the 'enjoyment' factor was unfortunately missing for me. All that was revealed, between the precise wording, indicted truth as it imprisoned understanding. This play delivered an intriguing body of paradoxes and I was a body of inconsistent feelings, whilst reading it. However, none were enough to ensure long-lasting remembrance and this failed to deliver a closure
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it

We were having a walk at Anglesey Abbey earlier this year, and a couple of lines from this play popped into my head:
The aconite under the snow
And the snowdrop crying for a moment in the wood
Maybe they'll encourage you to read it.

Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-drama
“What is still more important [than cultural homogeneity] is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.” --T.S. Eliot

But this could have been written by; Roald Dahl, Celine, Thomas Mann, Edith Wharton, Ezra Pound, John Milton, Agatha Christie, Tacitus,…

It never ceases to fascinate that intelligent and educated folk can also be prejudicial.

I know. You are angry with me for
Pilgrim (Harry) grapples with guilt, resists temptation of comfort (Wishwood), follows angels (Eumenides), expiates sins, and redeems community (his family).
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
since it was not a popular eliot play, i thought before reading that it would be an underwhelming experience. but, believe in mr. t.s. eliot! what a genius he was! and, this play is one of those marks of his genius penmanship! this play is deeply philosophical, and also existentialist in a very unique nature. i am so glad that i have this text in my university syllabus.

there is this quote made by rust cohle in "true detective" - "oh, then, everybody's guilty." each and every characters in this
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Eliot is a master of prose and poetry. In this play, he writes in blank verse the story of a detective, and his journey from guilt to redemption. Near the beginning, Harry says to Charles,
You are all people
You whom nothing has happened, at most a continual impact
Of external events. You have gone through life in sleep,
Never woken to the nightmare. I tell you, life would be unendurable
If you were wide awake. You do not know
The noxious smell untraceable in the drains,
Gary Wright
Mar 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
The purpose of a"play" is to entertain, whether read or performed. "The Family Reunion" did NOT entertain me at all, nor did it instruct. I literally struggled thought the cryptic blank verse, wondering what it means or what the characters' intentions are. There is barely a story, let alone a message, and the end is abrupt and strange. I was glad when it was over, to be honest. How this is considered a classic is beyond me.
Amal Arrumaih
I don't know how to rate this book since I don't feel like I have understood it.

However, it is very poetic and absurd, as it would be expected of T.S. Elliot.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
"0 Sun, that was once so warm, 0 Light that was taken
for granted
When I was young and strong, and sun and light unsought for
And the night unfeared and the day expected
And clocks could be trusted, tomorrow assured
And time would not stop in the dark!
Put on the lights. But leave the curtains undrawn.
Make up the fire. Will the spring never come? I am
cold. "

"Living with horses and dogs and guns "

"The man who returns will have to m
Denise Zendel
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Haunted by events from his past, and hobbled by a boss who doesn’t like him much and possibly wants him to fail, DCI Jamie Carver is trying to keep his head down, do his job, and maintain some sort of a home life when he gets sucked into yet another savage murder investigation.

The case is complicated, involving members of the immigrant community who are reluctant to go to the police. Carver knows something is going to happen, he just doesn’t know to whom or when, and his annoying boss won’t let
Laura Ann Tull
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Waltenegus Dargie
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Family Reunion relates the story of a young man's relationship with his controlling mother ("The degradation of being parted from myself"). Around this relationship we also find other family members, each having a false and superfluous relationship with the mother. It is a psychological play by TS Eliot in which he explores his own relationship crisis. In a larger context, the play explores human beings separation from God by having accepted a false and superfluous alternative relationship. ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many people overlook Eliot's attempts to bring poetry back into the theatre. If they know anything they know of "Murder in the Cathedral" - which is a pity because there is so much more to discover. This play for example. As with the Cocktail Party he brings a group of people together who in inter-acting with each other reveal more of their own public and private lives. There is humour, suspense, wry insights and some wonderful verse.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elisabeth Bridges
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little confusing unless you do some in-depth studying of the Eumenides, but extremely quotable and lovely nonetheless.
Dolf van der Haven
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always read something by T.S. Eliot around New Year's Eve.
Bryn (Plus Others)
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, poetry
I am not certain what I think of Eliot's theology or his drama -- I cannot imagine this succeeding upon a stage -- but I do love his poetry.
Nermine Tadross
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Family Reunion by T.S. Eliot is a two act play. It is taking place in modern England but Eliot used two features of old Greek theater; a chorus to comment on the event every now and then and the the Eumenides (the avenging souls) from the Oresteia. This is one of the very few works which can be considered a comment by Eliot on his complicated relationship to his first wife.
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this verse drama Eliot's characters talk in obscure/abstract/interpretive ways. They struggle to put their experiences into words, not wanting to confine themselves to any kind of concrete pre-existing narrative of absolutes. There is a fascinating liquidity and sense of a communal project in these conversations, in which all speech contributes.

The mother, Amy, as the head of the family has, in her attempt to put off consequences, to maintain sameness, achieved nothing but spreading her own
Jennifer Wood
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting play, I'll admit a bit over my head at times.

Harry: "Time and time and time, and change, no change! You all of you try to talk as if nothing had happened, and yet you are talking of nothing else. Why not get to the point or if you want to pretend that I am another person - a person that you have conspired to invent, please do so in my absence. I shall be less embarrassing to you." p. 233

Chorus: "We all of us make the pretension to be the uncommon exception to the univers
Sulagna Ghosh
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well...let me get something straight in the beginning.. I had had huge expectations from this drama,a reason which might account for for my dissatisfaction at it's ending.Eliot's verse and imagery is at it's usual best and the plot seemed to hold bright promises..but soon I found that the story of a man travelling from a sinful existence to expiation of the same lacked the brilliance of the author's volume of poems and even the Greek references failed to captivate me.
The quotes of two char
Rachel Terry
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
The library copy I read has a sticker from a store on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood (Samuel French, Inc.). It appears to be a 1939 edition. As I read, I kept imagining what Hollywood would do with a script like this. Maybe Hollywood of the 1930s would have attempted it, but I have a hard time believing that they would have attempted the Greek chorus or the Eumenides.

The language and poetry is beautiful, but the story ends too abruptly. A young man returns to his English country home
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, poetry
I used to think that Attic Drama referred to a group of very early Greek plays that were never meant to be staged but only read in the attic. (I know: Stupid!) Well, I'd classify T.S. Eliot's verse play "The Family Reunion" in that misnomer. Which is another way of saying that while I don't find Eliot's update of classical tragedy particularly stageworthy or even dramatically sound, I would recommend reading it to anyone open to Eliot's deep meditations on responsibility, fate and family. There ...more
Danny Daley
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not surprisingly in the least, Eliot's play "The Family Reunion" is fantastic. Eliot strikes a perfect balance of narrative and lucid prose with powerful insights into the nature of family life. In many ways, I related very much to Harry; his feelings about the circumstances he found himself in, his wanderlust and need to make his own way regardless of the expectations of others. When Eliot's characters break into poetry, the lines are effective and reflective. A wonderful play I will likely rea ...more
J. Alfred
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In his pinnacle as a dramatist, Eliot creates a story that has to be absolutely stunning onstage. Wrenching the Furies from their Greek context and putting them into the life of an English peer is astonishing in its own right, but that he then does a Chestertonian reversal of roles and allows his main character to find salvation rather than damnation in them? Goodness gracious. This is a strong play, laced with allusions to his works and those of others. Very much worth your time.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love T.S Eliot's plays. His writing is as usual, beautiful and poetic. The characters are mysterious even after you finish this book. Short but full of suspense, this family reunion will be like no other. I can't wait to read more of this author's work. His talent is shown in every word he writes, and his thoughts about life and death pour out of every character like a waterfall.

I highly recommend it.
Anoud Q
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first time reading a play, although I took one as a course before but I had never intended to read it. I actually thought it was a collection of poems , but when I got home I discovered it's not and rather it's a play.

I loved the conversations among the characters and everyone of them has a point. it was vividly written, so you can finish it within two days the most.

Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Something like a Wes Anderson film. Blends poetry with a sort of realism, in the same way that the tragic central character moves from the superficial realm of his family life to one of tortured introspection.
Everett Darling
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
uncrossing the bones, laying them was all rather confusing, and effective at confusing me. Far from getting annoyed, I was intrigued and reread passages for clarity, though much still stays opaque.
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Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent. Eliot was born an American, moved to the United King ...more
“We ask only to be reassured
About the noises in the cellar
And the window that should not have been open”
“In a world of fugitives, the person taking the opposite direction will appear to run away.” 29 likes
More quotes…