Book Notes: August Wilson’s Fences

Turns out this post failed to publish for some reason. Sorry for the confusion!

Fences is supposed to be Wilson’s most famous play. Or at least the most taught one. But I didn’t like it.

Compared to The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey, Fences is a lot less about black experience in America and a lot more universal, for lack of a better word. The subject of male menopause has been done to absolute death. A man in his fifties cheats on his wife with a young girl. He is intimidated by an adolescent son and fights him for the role of the man of the house. We have only heard this story five million times.

The writing is clunky. There are long boring monologues. The ending is pompous and fake. It was all bad, especially in comparison to the brilliant stuff by this writer that I reviewed on this blog earlier. To me, Wilson is at his best when he writes about black history and not when he does a version of the supremely inane American Beauty. (I know Fences precedes American Beauty but it’s still an outdated, boring plot).

I’m going to watch the movie with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Maybe that’s going to be better. Anything will be better than the play itself.

This is the second book I read this year, and both suck. I’m superstitious about my reading, and this doesn’t bode well.