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Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Easter Parade (original 1976; edition 2008)

by Richard Yates

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962478,994 (4.05)47
Title:Easter Parade
Authors:Richard Yates
Info:Vintage Books USA (2008), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Untitled collection

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The Easter Parade by Richard Yates (1976)

  1. 00
    The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: One's a fat early-20th-century English novel and the other a spare modern American one but both recount the lives of two sisters, one of whom settles into domesticity and one of whom goes further afield to lead an apparently more eventful life. And more strikingly both leave the reader with a great sense of sadness because both Bennett and Yates convey so overwhelming a sense of the transience and smallness of life.… (more)

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The Easter Parade tells the story of the very different lives of two sisters, Sarah and Emily. Their childhood is spent with their overbearing mother, Pookie, with occasional visits from their distant father. Sarah grows up to lead the apparently perfect life of a 1950s housewife and mother, but her husband turns out to be abusive and violent. Emily has a career and a more adventurous life in the city, but this life also brings loneliness and a series of relationships that are often painful or unfulfilling.

I loved this book for its ironic humour and the understated style, which somehow conveys the sadness of the characters’ lives and only makes its emotional impact greater. The extremely realistic, often comic characterization and dialogue show the author’s huge gift for observation and I sympathised completely with Emily’s aspirations and disillusionments (the book is mostly written from her point of view). The book interestingly portrays the relationship between the two sisters, which includes rivalry but also an affection and closeness which they rarely express. I feel the book also suggests how easy it is to drift through life not really understanding the meaning or implications of what we do. Although it is undeniably bleak, I find this book exhilarating for its unrestrained exploration of the disappointments and pain of life, and for its beautiful writing, especially the perfect final scene. ( )
  papercat | Jun 24, 2017 |
Perhaps a more fitting title would be The Parade of Tragic Couplings or The Parade of Piteous Mediocrities and Facades, the novel succinctly covers over forty years of two sisters' lives in the span of two hundred pages through a whirlwind of mundanely significant snapshots of their relationships with others and each other. There is a lack of sympathy for the characters due to the fast pace of each recounted episode but the clinical dissection of the feelings was still fascinating and engrossing. I loved how flawed every character was, no gender gets a preferential treatment, everybody was equally awful. Every woman should read him if only to make a list of all the men you should never be in a relationship with. Recommended for fans of midcentury American malaise, like Betty's arc in the first few seasons of Mad Men.

Aside: I thought the eponymous photo would shine more of thematic spotlight over the idea of façades but ends up shining more on the rushed nature of Yates' style here: he'll mostly just throw them all out at you, "You deal with that, I'm too busy running ahead with my other ideas to do more with it." ( )
  kitzyl | Oct 29, 2016 |
While undeniably a brilliantly written book, The Easter Parade offered what felt like constant whiffs of misogyny that I had trouble getting past. I did not feel this when reading Revolutionary Road, despite the fact that awful things also happen to the female protagonist in that book (so it doesn't have anything to do with the events of the story, more the tone in which they were occasionally rendered).

The characters of Emily and Sarah were both so vividly shown using spare and unflinching prose, of which Yates was an unquestionable master. The threads of sadness and failure in this novel are timeless. However, it felt deeply dated and disturbing in ways that were, I think, unintentional. (I'm totally fine with the intentionally disturbing parts, BTW. It's just hard to take this novel at face value as a 21st century feminist.) Reminiscent of Updike and Cheever. ( )
  sansmerci | Apr 21, 2016 |
If you're looking for light hearted, happy-go-lucky tales that end with a smile, steer clear of Richard Yates. He's a serious writer who wasn't afraid of shining the light on uncomfortable subjects. In The Easter Parade, a story of two sisters who take separate, rocky paths in search of happiness, Yates makes very real the challenges of divorce, parenting, dating, sex in the days of "pre-liberation," alcoholism, domestic violence, and mental illness. Yates is a master of capturing the wrenching and at times painful emotions woven through all of those subjects, which many found difficult to discuss; certainly during the time period covered in this book, 1940s to 1970s. Don't read this book as any kind of curative, but if you've struggled finding Mr/Ms Right, felt lost, waded through a less than ideal life, you may find a little kinship with the Grimes sisters. Once you start, Yates will certainly draw you in with engaging dialog and his clear observations on the human condition. ( )
  traumleben | Jan 3, 2016 |
the story of two very different sisters and their lives. it was sad, but a good sad, the kind that makes you sit back and think about life and love and family. ( )
  amanaceerdh | Dec 30, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Yatesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Øye, AgneteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Lloret, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents' divorce.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312278284, Paperback)

In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates's classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family's past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:38 -0400)

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Astaire stars as a dancer whose partner abandons his act. Judy Garland steps in and falls in love with Fred.

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