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Philadelphia, Here I Come [Paperback]

Brian Friel
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 May 1975

Fed up with the dreary round of life in Ballybeg, with his uncommunicative father and the humiliating job in his father's grocery shop, with his frustrated love for Kathy Doogan who married a richer, more successful young man and with the total absence of prospect and opportunity in his life at home, Gareth O'Donnell has accepted his aunt's invitation to come to Philadelphia. Now, on the eve of his departure, he is not happy to be leaving Ballybeg.

With this play Brian Friel made his reputation and it is now an acknowledged classic of modern drama.


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Philadelphia, Here I Come + Translations (Faber Paperbacks)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (29 May 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571085865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571085866
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.5 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Brian Friel was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, in 1929. His plays include Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Translations, Faith Healer, Making History, Dancing at Lughnasa and The Home Place.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Kitchen in the home of County Councillor S.B. O'Donnell who owns a general shop. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daul Read 18 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback
Philadelphia, Here I Come, is another of Brian Friel's timeless classics. Set back in teh day when the Usa was the place to be, this is the story of a young man named Gar who is about to set of for his new life. However in the night that the action takes place he is bombarded with unresolved issues from, former girlfriend Kate, The Boys and most certaintly his father SB.
Riddled with the pressures of speaking your mind and acting from the heart Friel emphasises the troublesome world of effection between father and son. The bold dramatic move of having the daul personnality of Gar on stage is not only unheard off, but keeps the audiance fascinated and gripped until the very end.
This, the most humourous of all Friels plays, is something for evreyone. Will Gar go or wont he? You'll have to read it to find out.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ok but not for kids 10 Jun 2014
By LeeLee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had this on a reading list for high school students. I decided not to use it as I found the protagonist a bit negative. It's not at all upbeat. Perhaps its interesting for some: an young Irishman who moves to Philadelphia, but the whole process of his leaving and his relationship with his father and fiancé is a bit depressing. I couldn't finish it unfortunately.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for fans of old Ireland 22 Feb 2014
By Siobhan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellently written account of a young man's pre-emigration jitters, incorporating his affection for the life he so longs to leave behind. A brilliant tale of early 20th century Ireland, Catholicism, her ideas on the American dream, and a stale father/son relationship. Friel's use of the psyche as a character brings a new dimension to this play, allowing us to hear the main characters every thought, hope, fear and dream. Having emigrated myself, this story is one still applicable to Ireland. I'm glad I didn't read it before I left, or I wouldn't have gone at all! Very powerful and emotional.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little dated but masterfully done 16 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Tis a grand play to be sure. The wind is still sweeping across Ballybeg as I write and there is more of a tendancy these days for the Yanks to come our way rather than exporting our young men to the good ol USA. The plot cleverly follows the final decisive moments as the son of the house prepares to put it all behind him as he goes to seek his fame and fortune in Phili. The past is remembered by a clever dramatic device of having an extra character play Gar's conscience. It works very well and the relationship with the Da is riveting. What happens? Read for yourself. Gigantic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW 29 April 1999
By Kevin Costello - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
We all have our little people within ourselves, that little voice that criticizes us when we know we are lying to ourself. Friel took this one step further: he put this self on stage. The main character in this play, Gar O'Donnel, is divided into a public and private half in this play on Gar's last night in Ireland before he goes to philadelphia. The public half is Gar's usual self: boisterous with friends, shy around his father and failed girlfriend, and respectful towards the old housekeeper. However at every step the private Gar is by his side, railing against the terrible monotony of life and leaving. The ending confrontation between Gar(s) and his father is at once moving and terribly tragic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the private and personal faces of us all are seen 12 Aug 2000
By Jack Cunneen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this play, Friel beautifully captures the loss felt that comes with leaving the green fields of Ireland to look for a better life. Friel step by step mirrors the way of life in Ireland perfectly, bring home to us all the reality of life in those days in rural Ireland. His father, unable to express his own emotions, can but make idle small talk to the son he my never see again......Gars friends, the "boys", though over 20 still boast of fictional conquests as if they were in the grip of adolesence....the sufficating sameness of day to day life in a rural village, aspects of Irish past, and sometimes present society which is often over looked by Irish writers are brillantly portrayed in this journey inside the mind of a boy about to leave all he knows, and hopefully become a man in the process. "Philadelphia, Here I come" is a story to be cherished by all that have made the journey themselves, those who still remember the Ireland of the past, and those seeking an insider view of a young mans mind. It is a must, something that you will read again and again, and something which everyone, both Irish and otherwise, will identify with forever.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I acted in this play 6 Dec 2000
By Damian O'Leary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I first read this play at the age of 16, as I played the part of SB in a production in secondary school. It's on the English syllabus in Ireland, attesting to its significance in modern Irish drama. I like the play but its one major failing is that Gar, especially through Gar Private, is very often reduced to a stereotypical, stage Irish man. While his constant jokes do serve to highlight his frustration at the monotony of his life, and especially the lack of communication between him and his father, his constant chatter, and unbridled spontaneity are too overpowering and detract from what is otherwise a beautiful play. My favourite scene, and the scene I loved playing most is when SB is alone on stage and goes over to Gar's room and looks at his son's suitcases. For the first time, the mask drops and we see that he is a man of feeling who can not voice his inner hurt and turmoil. The end is lovely, the theme of memory, deceptive and alusive.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Friels Greatest Play 22 Aug 2000
By colin_pegg@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is set in play format with a strange inclusion of the antagonists alter ego the two characters are Public the man everyone sees and Private the man no one sees or hears only Public can hear him. Together they make up Gar. The play is set the night before Gar is set to leave Ireland and move to Philadelphia. The story focuses not on his leaving but more on his escape from his unexciting father. The inclusion of Private Gar added humour and explanation of events in the play. An enjoyable play with greats dialog and a good story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of course 20 July 2010
By John Gallagher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of course this was Brian Friel's first big success. It should have been. It's about the mysteries of immigration, the loss of what's left behind, the hope of what's hoped and longed for, the inability to feel what you say and to say what you feel, love lost and given away, and how we are not what we seem, or even what we think we are. It's also about not really understanding all this and still doing something. And it's funny.
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