Monday, July 18, 2011

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs, It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves. (back cover)

What a fantastic book! I loved the writing and how the author captured the nuances of a relationship so perfectly. But, wow. Heavy. These likable authentic characters struggled so hard for recognition only to discover they were often their own worst enemy.

He was doing his best to reconstruct the quarrel in his mind, but it was hopeless. He couldn't even tell whether he was angry or contrite, whether it was forgiveness he wanted or the power to forgive. pg32

He always felt it necessary to defend the Campbells to Mrs. Givings, whose view seemed to be that anyone who lived in the Revolutionary Hill Estates deserved at best a tactful condescension. pg44

Oh, she'd made up her mind all right. It had been easy to decide in favor of love on Bethune Street, in favor walking proud and naked on the grass rug of an apartment that caught the morning sun among its makeshift chairs, its French travel posters and its bookcase made of packing crate slats - an apartment where half the fun of having an affair was that it was just like being married, and where later, after a trip to city hall and back, after a ceremonial collecting of the other two keys from the other two men, half the fun of being married was that it was just like having an affair. pg50

*I did have some trouble accepting the ending, though.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I love Yates and have read 3 of his books so far. I thought this and the movie version were very good.

Trish said...

What I like about the book is that we get a peak inside their thoughts and motivations. Can the actors pull of all that emotion successfully on the screen? I'll be interested to see how they do it.

And, yes. I'll be looking out for more Yates now too!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I haven't read this one but I think my best friend did. I think at the time, I thought it was too heavy for my mood. I'll give it another look soon. Thanks for the nice review :)

Trish said...

alexis - yes! heavy is the word for this one. I'll be interested to see what you think about it.