The Young Man from Atlanta

The Young Man from Atlanta

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The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote
1996, Paperback

A menace lurks below the placid surface of Horton Foote's brilliant drama of an aging couple coping with a son's suicide. The menace is the unspoken secret connected with the young man from Atlanta, their son's former roommate, and neither Houston businessman Will Kidder nor his childlike wife, Lily Dale, will name it or discuss it. But the secret's corrosive effects will seep into every facet of their lives in a powerful portrayal that builds up piece by piece to create a mood of despair, self-deception, and malice—cut through with a razor-sharp edge of satire.

This is quintessential Horton Foote, whose writing conveys powerful emotions and life-changing events in a spare, reductive style. The Young Man from Atlanta assembles characters who are complex and riveting, at odds equally with one another and themselves. Reintroducing Will Kidder, Lily Dale, and her stepfather, Pete Davenport, from plays written earlier in his career, Foote has created a masterful work that is multilayered and intriguingly ambiguous: Many of his characters must decide whether the story told by the young man from Atlanta—who never appears on stage—is the truth or not. But the integrity of Foote's stagecraft is absolute, and he has created a major theatrical work of our time. First performed as part of the Signature Theater Company's season of plays devoted entirely to the works of Horton Foote, this Pulitzer Prize winner brings much deserved recognition to an important American playwright whose fifty-year career includes two Academy Awards.