Pinter and the making of an esque
You know you’ve made it as a literary genius when your name becomes an adjective: these days one’s writing can be Wildean (pithily amusing), Joycean (incomprehensible) or perhaps most desirably, Pinteresque, which brings with it inaction, humour, misogyny and a sweet hint of menace. The playwright who died on Christmas Eve has been eulogised at length, but in gratitude for his ensuring my own surname appears in, if not on, a literary classic, I’d like to offer my own salute.
From The Birthday Party . . .
GOLDBERG: Sit back, McCann. Relax. What’s the matter with you? I bring you down for a few days to the seaside. Take a holiday. Do yourself a favor. Learn to relax, McCann, or you’ll never get anywhere.
MCCANN. Ah sure, I do try, Nat.
GOLDBERG. [sitting at the table] The secret is breathing. Take my tip. It’s a well-known fact. Breathe in, breathe out, take a chance, let yourself go, what can you lose? . . .
. . .
MCCANN. What about this, Nat? Isn’t it about time someone came in?
GOLDBERG. McCann, what are you so nervous about? Pull yourself together. Everywhere you go these days it’s like a funeral.
MCCANN. That’s true.
GOLDBERG. True? Of course it’s true. It’s more than true. It’s a fact.
MCCANN. You may be right.