You know a book is good when you feel compelled to re-read it. That's what happened to me with this book. I read it a long time ago in a college drama class, and I liked it so much that I felt like reading it over again recently. It's a quick read with beautiful, poetic language. The characters are believable, and the play makes some good points about family relationships and generation gaps.
Several years ago, I saw the TV Teleplay “The Piano Lesson,” based on the play of that name by the great African-American playwright August Wilson. That play included a great depiction of African-American life in the 1990’s. This led me to read “Fences,” another play by Wilson, this time depicting life in the 1950’s. The characters in all his plays are three-dimensional with all shades of good and bad and wise and silly. I had no idea that both plays won a Pulitzer Prize, nor that “The Piano Lesson” was nominated both by the Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys. If you want something other than the silly Hollywood/TV cardboard characterizations of African-American life so prevalent on TV or the theatres, read this book or any other book you can find by August Wilson.
Another great play. This play is even more interesting when you have an understanding of 1950s America, national league baseball, and Pittsburgh that way you understand all the references made.
Troy Maxson is a layered character who's fall from glory continues throughout the play and his inability to let go of the past that inevitably strains all of his relationships.
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