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Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition)…

Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries) (original 1961; edition 2008)

by Richard Yates

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4,975207919 (4.05)255
Title:Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)
Authors:Richard Yates
Info:Vintage (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1961)

Recently added bygirliesogrooovy, baggman, Kaydeanne, mirikayla, DCL54, private library, JeremyBillingsley, tciuffo
Legacy LibrariesDavid Foster Wallace
  1. 70
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (thesearch, JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Einen Autor, den Richard Yates, "glühend liebte" und "bei dessen 'Gatsby' er am Ende meistens in Tränen ausbrach".
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    JuliaMaria: Laut Eva Menasse eine "bewunderswert detaillierte" Biographie zum tragischen Leben von Richard Yates. Zitat: "[...] gnadenlosen Handel: privates Glück gegen künstlerisches Talent, körperliche und geistige Gesundheit gegen Ruhm."
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» See also 255 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
What can I say, I enjoyed the book from the opening chapter to its conclusion. It's a trip back 1950's America when things were perfect. Or at least when the country was still ignorant of little things that would change the entire nation. Things such as Civil Rights and Vietnam. When the middle class was upwardly mobile and expanding. When women received a higher education so as to become a better housewife and mother. You guys understand that I'm being facetious, yes?

Parts of the book, like some of the conversations between characters, seemed a bit drawn out and overly complex. But, I found them to be acceptable and usually not much longer than necessary to conveyed the deeper meaning of the section. I mean, Yates isn't like Hemingway who could turn a paragraph into two pages. Or Stephen King that must be paid by the sentence.

This novel was made into a movie in 2008 that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Frank and April Wheeler, the main protagonists. I don't remember seeing the movie, although my wife insists that we did. While reading the book, I couldn't help but see and hear DiCaprio and Winslet speaking the lines in my mind. They are Frank and April. ( )
  baggman | Feb 11, 2016 |
Fiction in the grand old tragic style. People with dreams, self-aware and aware of the compromises they "must" make, real dialogue, straighforward narrative...I loved this book! You can see where Russell Banks, Richard Ford, Richard Price (and many others, I'm sure) may have all been inspired by Richard Yates. It was so refreshing to read a book that wasn't meant to showcase the author's cleverness, but rather to truly capture a piece of real life. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Mixed feelings on this book. I liked it very much but thought it was a little too 'real' at times. There should be a warning label on the cover that says either 'Read either before you turn 20 or after 50'. I haven't watched the movie, but am looking forward to it. I recommend it. ( )
  Charlie-Ravioli | Jan 18, 2016 |
This book had been lying on a shelf for years, and I kept seeing references to it in discussions about books but never got around to reading in until now. In many ways it is now a period piece, set back in the seventies; but at the same time it is timeless in what it tells us about aspects of the human condition. The plot is always interesting; the characters generally well drawn and the writing good, albeit lapsing into the overly literary at times. I am very happy to recommend this to those of you who have not tried it yet. Not "The Great American Novel" but a really good try. ( )
  johnwbeha | Jan 1, 2016 |
It's a sad comment on our age, perhaps, that Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road - critically lauded upon its publication and now considered a modern classic - should only really have received the public attention it deserved with the release of the film adaptation a few years ago. Until then, it was quite common for people - even generally well-read people - to have never even heard of, let alone read, this novel. However, while the film version may have done wonders for the book's popularity, it may also have done it a disservice in reducing it to yet another book about the mindlessness of suburbia. Revolutionary Road is so much more than that.

The plot is really rather simple, following a young-ish American couple, Frank and April Wheeler. When they first met they were both bright young things in Greenwich Village, she an aspiring actress and he a vaguely intellectual drifter. Self-confident and radiant with hope as only the young can be, they were both certain they were destined for great things, even if they were never quite sure what those things were. Fast forward a few years, however, and the Wheelers are trapped in a grey, stultifying existence in the Connecticut suburbs. He works in a boring office job, and she stays at home and looks after their two kids. Jaded and resentful, they take their frustrations out on each other; until, after one particularly vicious row, April suddenly has "the most wonderful plan". Why don't they turn their backs on this unsatisfying life, and head off to Paris, where they can really start living and fulfilling their potential?

This is often read - often by those who loathe suburbia on principle - as just another condemnation of suburban life or - by those who loathe America on principle - as just another dissection of the empty heart of the American Dream, blah blah blah. If that were all it was, it might have ended very differently - perhaps (slight spoiler alert) with the Wheelers triumphing over adversity and sailing off to a glorious future in Europe. And while that may certainly have been a happier novel, it would also have been a far less moving and perceptive one. No, Revolutionary Road is about the sometimes comic and often tragic gulf between ambition and ability, about how the imperfect, compromised reality of our lives so rarely lives up to our hopes and fantasies, and how we often tend to be defeated by the limitations inherent in our own characters.

Put simply, the Wheelers aren't nearly as special and interesting as they like to think they are. That isn't the fault of America or suburbia, or even of dull office jobs. It isn't even their fault, as there's nothing they can do about it. It's just the sad reality of their lives, a reality which Frank learns to accept but April just cannot stomach. Furthermore, their general sense of dissatisfaction with their lives doesn't make them somehow special - it just makes them normal. And even if they did succeed in running off to Europe, once the initial exhilaration had died down they'd probably just feel the same there. It's a common, if unfortunate, aspect of human life that we are all dissatisfied with our lot; the feeling is probably very much the same whether you're living in Connecticut or the Latin Quarter, and if the Wheelers had actually been reading any of the Parisian intellectuals they profess to admire they'd probably know that.

And yet somehow you can't help but want the Wheelers to succeed. I mean, wouldn't it be nice if someone could occasionally triumph over the limitations of human life? Isn't that what we all dream of? And it's a measure of Yates' genius that, though the characters are all actually rather hateful, we still sympathise with their predicament and feel their pain, recognising it as our own. And in the last two sentences of the book Yates even, in a few choice, terrifying words, conveys how most of us manage to cope in the end.

And in fact that's one of the most remarkable things about this novel: the way Yates, in writing about one couple with one particular set of problems, nevertheless creates a piece of writing which is universal. Partly this is due to the way the writing tends to come alive on the page. Take this passage, for instance:

"Her smile continued until she was back in the kitchen, clearing away the breakfast dishes into a steaming sinkful of suds; she was still smiling, in fact, when she saw the paper napkin with the diagram of the computer on it, and even then her smile didn't fade; it simply spread and trembled and locked itself into a stiff grimace while the spasms worked at her aching throat, again and again, and the tears broke and ran down her cheeks as fast as she could wipe them away."

A few words and you're there, in that sunny Connecticut kitchen, alone and afraid and floundering amongst the wreckage of a dead marriage.

Needless to say, this is not a cheerful read. Indeed, if you're trapped in a home you don't like or a job you hate, or if you're in an unhappy relationship or are even just a little dissatisfied with your life, you may find it a little too close to the bone for comfort. However, why not grit your teeth and read it anyway? It may not solve your problems, but you'll rarely see them described with such precision and eloquence. ( )
2 vote MariBiella | Dec 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
Writing in controlled, economical prose, Mr. Yates delineates the shape of these disintegrating lives without lapsing into sentimentality or melodrama. His ear for dialogue enables him to infuse the banal chitchat of suburbia with a subtext of Pinteresque proportions, and he proves equally skilled at reproducing the pretentious, status-conscious talk of people brought up on Freud and Marx.

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Yatesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emeis, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, RichardForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Alas! When passion is both meek and wild! -John Keats
To Sheila
First words
The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of the empty auditorium.
Ko so potihnili zadnji pojemajoči glasovi generalke, člani igralske skupine Laurel niso vedeli, kaj bi – kar stali so, tihi in nemočni, in mežikali čez odrske luči v prazno dvorano.
Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375708448, Paperback)

The rediscovery and rejuvenation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is due in large part to its continuing emotional and moral resonance for an early 21st-century readership. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.

Yates's incisive, moving, and often very funny prose weaves a tale that is at once a fascinating period piece and a prescient anticipation of the way we live now. Many of the cultural motifs seem quaintly dated--the early-evening cocktails, Frank's illicit lunch breaks with his secretary, the way Frank isn't averse to knocking April around when she speaks out of turn--and yet the quiet desperation at thwarted dreams reverberates as much now as it did years ago. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the exacting cost of chasing the American dream. --Jane Morris, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The devastating effects of work, adultery, rebellion, and self-deception slowly destroy the once successful marriage of Frank and April Wheeler, a suburban American couple.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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