Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts, and a Requiem (Penguin Modern Classics)
Willy Loman is an aging salesman who is starting to lose his grip on reality. Through the course of the play, we watch his sad collapse while his family desperately attempts to rally around him.
I’m beginning to think I have a thing for books that exemplify the death of the American Dream and the victims left in its wake. While Willy Loman isn’t quite as sympathetic as someone like Jay Gatsby, you will pity him, maybe even against your will. Because there is a sad reality here that resonates, and while the high drama could in some moments be seen as melodrama to some, it all seems pertinent and proper here.
Even then, the characters being likable or pitiable isn’t so much the point. More to the point is that they are strong characters with strong voices. The dialogue read smoothly. Interactions were as natural or tense as they needed to be, and when they were tense, it was felt. The message was clear and stark, all about broken dreams and kept secrets. The kind of thing that makes a short play blow by too fast.
So I loved it. I feel it’s a classic piece of theater/literature for good reason. It’s short and engaging, and if you want to read a classic and don’t know where to start, surprisingly this would be a good place.