In these mordant, elegant, and often disquieting essays, the internationally acclaimed dramatist creates a sort of autobiography by strobe light, one that is both mysterious and starkly revealing. The pieces in The Cabin are about places and things: the suburbs of Chicago, where as a boy David Mamet helplessly watched his stepfather terrorize his sister; New York City, where as a young man he had to eat his way through a mountain of fried matzoh to earn a night of sexual bliss. They are about guns, campaign buttons, and a cabin in the Vermont woods that stinks of wood smoke and kerosene -- and about their associations of pleasure, menace, and regret. The resulting volume may be compared to the plays that have made Mamet famous: it is finely crafted and deftly timed, and its precise language carries an enormous weight of feeling.
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November 30, 1993
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