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The Night of the Iguana

by Tennessee Williams

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5391145,131 (3.66)41
Williams wrote: "This is a play about love in its purest terms." It is also Williams's robust and persuasive plea for endurance and resistance in the face of human suffering. The earthy widow Maxine Faulk is proprietress of a rundown hotel at the edge of a Mexican cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where the defrocked Rev. Shannon, his tour group of ladies from a West Texas women's college, the self-described New England spinster Hannah Jelkes and her ninety-seven-year-old grandfather, Jonathan Coffin ("the world's oldest living and practicing poet"), a family of grotesque Nazi vacationers, and an iguana tied by its throat to the veranda, all find themselves assembled for a rainy and turbulent night. This is the first trade paperback edition ofThe Night of the Iguana and comes with an Introduction by award-winning playwright Doug Wright, the author's original Foreword, the short story "The Night of the Iguana" which was the germ for the play, plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar, Kenneth Holditch. "I'm tired of conducting services in praise and worship of a senile delinquent--yeah, that's what I said, I shouted! All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent and, by God, I will not and cannot continue to conduct services in praise and worship of this...this...this angry, petulant old man."         --The Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon, fromThe Night of the Iguana… (more)
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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I do not see what the big deal was about this book - almost no plot and only mediocre character development. I go to Puerta Vallarta annually and there are references to the movie from this book all over the place. There is a statue of John Huston, tours focused on the movie, and dinner themes referencing the movie. Maybe there remains so much in P.V. because of the draw of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor? But when I see the reviews of the movie, even those don't reflect well for it. Maybe it's because the book just didn't have enough in it. I watched the trailer for the movie and there is certainly more in that than there was in the book (no surprise). I did find a documentary about the filming of the movie and much was made about the collaboration of the local people with the film crew so maybe that's the intrigue. With that, I will continue to enjoy the ambience in P.V. for what it is and have no more curiosity about "The Night of the Iguana." ( )
  Kimberlyhi | Apr 15, 2023 |
By far not my favorite Tennessee Williams play. I did not feel an affinity with any of the characters, which makes it harder to step into their skin and feel their pain. The tender relationship between Hannah and her Grandfather, and the knowledge that even if he survived this night he could not hope to survive many more, made her character both interesting and worthy of sympathy for me. I could not profess to care what happened to either Larry Shannon or Maxine.

The start was slow, but by the third act I would have been unwilling to leave the theater without knowing what happened. I do think, as with all plays, this might appeal more when "seen" vs. "read". ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
This was the first play I've read by Williams. It had so many characters in it I'm really at a loss as to a synopsis. Basically, it is the story of Maxine, who is a widow who owns a hotel in a remote Mexican village. Many different people come to the hotel and they each have a story to tell, many not so nice. The title of the play takes its name from the Iguana tied up under the porch, which Maxine is fattening to kill and cook. Just as the iguana is always trying to get free, many of the hotel guests are also trying to get free from something. 191 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Nov 11, 2020 |
Williams was an expert at writing broken characters. This play includes a former minister, an old resort in Mexico, and a bus full of older tourists.

“I still say that I’m not a bird, Mr. Shannon, I’m a human being and when a member of that fantastic species builds a nest in the heart of another, the question of permanence isn’t the first or even the last thing that’s considered.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Apr 9, 2019 |
A beautiful and powerful play; worth reading if you've seen the film because there are some differences. ( )
  belgrade18 | Mar 13, 2019 |
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Epigraph
And so, as kinsmen met a night,


We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips.

And covered up our names.

EMILY DICKINSON
Dedication
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As the curtain rises, there are sounds of a party of excited female tourists arriving by bus on the road down the hill below the Costa Verde hotel.
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Disambiguation notice
This LT work combines editions of Tennessee Williams' later play, Night of the Iguana (1961). It's distinct from Williams' short stories, including "The Night of the Iguana" (1948). Please don't combine the two; thank you.
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Williams wrote: "This is a play about love in its purest terms." It is also Williams's robust and persuasive plea for endurance and resistance in the face of human suffering. The earthy widow Maxine Faulk is proprietress of a rundown hotel at the edge of a Mexican cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where the defrocked Rev. Shannon, his tour group of ladies from a West Texas women's college, the self-described New England spinster Hannah Jelkes and her ninety-seven-year-old grandfather, Jonathan Coffin ("the world's oldest living and practicing poet"), a family of grotesque Nazi vacationers, and an iguana tied by its throat to the veranda, all find themselves assembled for a rainy and turbulent night. This is the first trade paperback edition ofThe Night of the Iguana and comes with an Introduction by award-winning playwright Doug Wright, the author's original Foreword, the short story "The Night of the Iguana" which was the germ for the play, plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar, Kenneth Holditch. "I'm tired of conducting services in praise and worship of a senile delinquent--yeah, that's what I said, I shouted! All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent and, by God, I will not and cannot continue to conduct services in praise and worship of this...this...this angry, petulant old man."         --The Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon, fromThe Night of the Iguana

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