The Birthday Party was Pinter's first major play, and after a disastrous premiere soon established itself as a modern classic. The other plays in this volume are no less rewarding. The dialogue is a stunning achievement, inconsequential on the surface, but richly suggestive underneath -- of a world that is simultaneously absurd and menacing, and of characters who do not wish to communicate, and would not be able to, even if they wished. The heredity, through Beckett and Ionesco, all the way back to Maeterlinck, is manifest. Realism and symbolism are brilliantly combined.
But isn't it about time that Faber and Faber did Pinter more justice? The volume is in a rigid binding that easily cracks, the paper is of poor quality, the print is thick and nasty, and the price is exorbitant -- though fortunately Amazon and its dealers are offering the book at well below the publisher's price. But surely the time has come for Faber and Faber to issue a new Collected Pinter, in the handsome format that is surely due to one of the greatest of English dramatists.