For more than twenty years, Mel Gussow, a drama critic for the New York Times, has been meeting Harold Pinter to talk about work and life, plays and people. At the core of this book is a series of lengthy interviews - some of the most extensive that Pinter has ever given - all published here in full for the first time. Pinter and Gussow first meet in 1971, when Old Times is a new play and Pinter's status as a major writer is still being confirmed. Then come public and private conversations in the eighties, when the voice of Pinter's political commitment is first heard. And finally, over a period of a week in September 1993, the two talk after the London premiere of Pinter's latest play, Moonlight. Here the playwright is in a more mellow mood, happy to contemplate his early life and to admit to a political agenda behind such plays as The Birthday Party. Through these and other revealing insights, he allows us to see the complete arc of his work to date in its true light. The resulting book is one of the most thoughtful and intimate portraits of the writer yet to appear. In fact, it is a kind of self-portrait, since, intentionally, it is Pinter who does most of the talking. Though famously reticent on the subjects of his work and his private life, Pinter opens up for Gussow in a manner both beguilingly frank and refreshingly informative.
Harold Pinter is arguably one of the most important playwrights to come out of England in the past 100 years. His plays resonate in the minds of his audience, not for what is said, but for what is left unspoken. The plays in this edition show Pinter at his best as a writer and are valuable to the reader.