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Easter Parade by Richard Yates
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Easter Parade (original 1976; edition 2008)

by Richard Yates

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8474110,623 (4.02)42
Member:otterley
Title:Easter Parade
Authors:Richard Yates
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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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Extremely well written, but immensely sad and sobering. I wouldn't read this one on a day I was already feeling rather blue! ( )
  fountainoverflows | Oct 7, 2013 |
This book has been sat on my shelves since October when I was fortunate enough to win it in the last literary blog hop giveaway. The book was sent to me by Samstillreading. Richard Yates was a new author for me, someone I had previously been quite unaware of. There are I see several Yates novels and some short stories re-issued by Vintage – making me feel I should have been more aware of this writer. Now having finished reading this quite remarkable novel I can’t help but wonder a little about the man behind it.
“Esther Grimes, or Pookie, was a small active woman whose life seemed pledged to achieving and sustaining an elusive quality she called ‘flair.’ She pored over fashion magazines, dressed tastefully and tried many ways of fixing her hair, but her eyes remained bewildered and she never quite learned to keep her lipstick within the borders of her mouth, which gave her an air of dazed and vulnerable uncertainty. She found more flair among rich people than in the middle class, and so she aspired to the attitudes and mannerisms of wealth in raising her daughters. She always sought ‘nice’ communities to live in, whether she could afford them or not, and she tried to be strict on matters of decorum.”
Sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes are the daughters of a 1930’s broken marriage. They love their father at something of a distance; as children they are proud that he writes headlines for the New York Sun. Emily, unlike her older sister, never really gets to know their father completely, while their slightly unstable mother moves the fractured family from place to place, a series of suburbs, and for Sarah and Emily a series of schools. Eventually their mother Pookie – moves them back to the city. It is here that Sarah meets her future husband, and from where Emily goes to college. Emily has always looked up to Sarah, beautiful and sensible, now smiling goldenly out of a public relations photograph for the Easter Parade on the arm of her handsome fiancée, her future seems certain.
The story which follows and which spans more than three decades is mainly that of Emily. Sarah comfortably married with three boys is very much in the background, as is Pookie, and Emily rarely see them. Emily embarks on a series of unsatisfactory relationships – even marrying once-again unsatisfactorily – and slowly begins to carve out a career for herself, as a librarian, a journalist and then as an advertising copy writer. Never totally out of touch, yet never really close, Sarah and Pookie remain at the back of Emily’s mind. However a dramatic and tragic event pulls the sisters together again years later, when Emily must reassess many things she had taken for granted.
“Tony sat stolidly in a chair across from the sofa, wearing paint-stained dungarees and looking like an exhausted labourer. Beside him, Howard Dunninger smiled uneasily. The only self-assured member of the group was Peter, who had turned into a striking young man. He was dressed in spattered work clothes too – he and his father had been painting the house before their guests arrived – and Emily liked his looks. He wasn’t tall and he wasn’t quite handsome, but he moved around in a graceful way and there was something humorous and wise about his face.”
Yates’s writing is elegant, spare and in the main unemotional – though his portrayal of families in denial and uncomfortable family get togethers is poignantly brilliant. This is a fairly slight novel at around 226 pages – yet there is so much packed into it. Richard Yates is certainly not easy on his characters, unhappy, self-deluding, selfish and damaged; slowly unravelling, they are characters that stay in the readers mind. Not wanting to give away too much – I will only say in conclusion that the story is utterly compelling and hugely readable; I almost ate up the pages. The ending for me, is just unforgettable.
For those of you wanting to read things that are cosy and happy happy happy, Richard Yates is possibly not for you. However I thoroughly enjoyed The Easter Parade and will definitely be looking to read more Yates in the future. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Feb 16, 2013 |
Twee zussen proberen, ieder op haar manier, in de VS van de 2de helft van de 20ste eeuw vergeefs een traumatische jeugd achter zich te laten. Buiten categorie. ( )
  joucy | Jan 26, 2013 |
It's a wonderful book; heart breaking and gripping. Yates writes brilliantly about the sadness and suffocation in some women's lives - and the excitement of the banal
  otterley | Nov 11, 2012 |
This book covers a lot of ground - nearly 50 years in the life of 2 sisters. Emily, the main protagonist, lives in New York, has a career, and drifts from one relationship to another. Sarah takes the more conventional route of marrying and having 3 children. Its a sad read, where no-one seems particularly happy, fulfilled or content for long.

It's beautifully written, with deceptively simple prose. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jul 24, 2012 |
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To Gina Catherine
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:19 -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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