This collection brings together the four plays that feature Ionesco's everyman protagonist Jean Berenger. In `The Killer', he comes across a "radiant city", an ideal civilization which is unfortunately being terrorized by a killer, whom he decides to track down and dissuade from committing any further crimes. In `Rhinoceros', he is the only person in a provincial town who is resisting "rhinoceritis", an affliction that turn its victims into the eponymous horned beasts. In `Exit the King', he is the powerful King Berenger the First, who refuses to acknowledge that he is dying. And in `Strolling in the Air', he acquires the capacity of flight and discovers that the celestial vault is held up by a gigantic pink pillar.
While each play in the Berenger cycle is unique, they are all prime examples of Ionesco's conception of the theatre of the absurd, and touch on themes that preoccupied Ionesco throughout his career, such as mortality, alienation, freedom and the evils of Fascism. This volume constitutes a perfect introduction to one of the twentieth century's most original and influential playwrights.