Oh God, I am so much in love with The Pillowman, I can't believe it. It won't get out of my head, in the most fabulously good way. I've just found a wonderful analysis here , that completely accords with my own view (and just as I was starting to think no-one but me understood what it was really about ;-)) . My only quibble with the argument is that I would place much greater emphasis on the varying reactions of Katurian's "reader-critics" – yes, Mikhal has the relentless literalism I've encountered on eg. TWoP, measuring literary quality by how it measures up to his own experience of "reality" ("I was just testing out how far-fetched they were" he tells Katurian, after confessing that he used his stories as a blueprint, "'Cos I always thought some of 'em were a bit far-fetched"), but Tupolski approaches the stories like the detective he is, convinced that everything is a metaphor with an underlying meaning ("It is a pointer. It is saying to me, on the surface I am saying this, but underneath the surface I am saying this other thing.") And Ariel's approach to literature is full-blown moralism ("You know what? I would torture you to death just for WRITING a story like that, let alone acting it out!") Moreover, each of them gets the chance to tell a story of their own, one that accords exactly with their approach as "reader-critics" –Tupolski has a long, involved allegory about a wise old Chinaman who saves a little boy from being crushed by a train ("the old wise man, see, he represents me [...] The little deaf retarded boy, he represents my fellow man, see? He comes along, oblivious to every fucking thing, he doesn't even know there's a train coming [...] And by the brilliance of my throwing the paper plane at that very moment, I shall save that idiot from that train, I shall save my fellow man from those criminals, and I won't even get a word of thanks for it." Ariel has a sentimental fantasy about how children will give him sweets in his old age as a rewards for having saved them from the baddies, and even Mikhal manages a leap of imagination and suggests a "happy ending" in which he wins the discus-throwing competition (instead of coming fourth out of four).