Thursday, June 07, 2007

August Wilson

Wilson' s play is about the escalating racial tensions in the U.S. beginning in 1957, between the Korean and Vietnam wars, and ends in 1965. The themes of the play centers around the pre-civil-rights-movement, pre-Vietnam-war-era influence.

The central focus of Fences is the Maxson family. The main character of Fences is former baseball player-turned Pittsburgh garbage man Troy Maxson who is used to illustrate the African-American struggle against racism. Racism is what has defied Troy Maxson at every turn in his life, and the color of his skin stood in the way of obtaining the American dream for him and his family. Racism creates the conflict, which causes Troy to feel that he has been "fenced" in by a society filled with discrimination and bigotry. These tensions cannot help but make their way into the Maxson home, and causes conflict between Troy and his wife, Rose, and Troy and his son Cory.

Though just a short read, Wilson's play says more than a thousand-page book. It's not a very "feel-good" story, but it is very powerful and provides an excellent depiction of African-American life and challenges they fought to overcome during a very difficult period of American history.

Dorothy Parker
What Fresh Hell is This?

A Biography by Marion Meade

If I could choose one person to go back in time to have a chat with, it would be Dorothy Parker. She was a woman of many writing talents and her works include screenplays, short stories, critical reviews and clever verse. The author's often one-liner wise-cracks about life and men were absolutely hilarious and even when one is in the darkest of moods, she could make you at least break out a wry smile.

Parker's life wasn't an easy one. She was divorced twice, had a string of painful affairs, a lifelong struggle with alcoholism, and several suicide attempts. Her "funniness" and sarcasm was merely a cover-up for the pain she was holding inside.

In this lively, absorbing biography, Marion Meade illuminates both the dark side of Parker and her days of wicked wittiness at the Algonquin Round Table with the likes of Robert Benchley, George Kaufman, and Harold Ross, and in Hollywood with S.J. Perelman, William Faulkner, and Lilian Hellman. At the dazzling center of it all, Meade gives us the flamboyant, self-destructive, and brilliant Dorothy Parker.