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Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates
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Disturbing the Peace (original 1975; edition 1984)

by Richard Yates

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250846,085 (3.88)5
Member:Simone2
Title:Disturbing the Peace
Authors:Richard Yates
Info:Delta (1984), Paperback, 288 pagina's
Collections:2013
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Alcoholism, Mental Illness

Work details

Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates (1975)

Recently added byneaira, andybaker, ColinG2012, private library, sleyzerzon, aidan_w-m, S.D., Lee_P, tummidge1
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    The Drinker by Hans Fallada (gust)
    gust: Alcoholisme, psychiatrie en mislukte relaties.Beide boeken semi-autobiografisch.
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A semi-autobiographical story, Disturbing the Peace begins with John Wilder experiencing a mental breakdown from excessive drinking and lack of sleep. He threatens his wife and child and ends up being committed to Bellevue. Exciting! And typical of Yates, there is little empathy for the protagonist, who comes across as a major dick. A womanizing ad salesman who flunked out of Yale because he couldn’t read, Wilder is selfish, arrogant, and insecure about his height (he compares himself to Mickey Rooney more than once, which seems as good a reason as any to take up drinking). He attends AA meetings and takes some sort of prescription – it’s not clear to Wilder what – but he never stops drinking.

The story derails at some point when Wilder meets an artsy 20-year-old during an outing at a lake with his family. He leaves his wife for the girl and decides to write a screenplay about his breakdown. The novel goes slightly meta as Wilder dramatizes the experience at Bellevue that happened at the beginning of the book. After a second breakdown (based on Yates’s real breakdown at the 1962 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont, which is also repeated in Young Hearts Crying), Wilder tells his doctor that his girlfriend has left him for Bobby Kennedy’s speechwriter. Since Yates wrote speeches for Kennedy, it seems that the author stole his protagonist’s girl. Or something. After this awkward nod to Postmodernism, we experience Wilder’s third and final breakdown.

The novel ends on a surprising note. Yates being Yates, I’m not spoiling anything by saying that it’s not a happy ending. What I can say about it is that Wilder comes to realize he cannot deal with the disappointments in his life and surrenders. At that point, whether Wilder continues to drink or not becomes moot.

This is widely considered Richard Yates’s weakest novel. While it’s solid enough, if you’ve read Revolutionary Road you’ll know why it ranks at the bottom. ( )
1 vote giovannigf | Aug 13, 2012 |
See the review on my blog ( )
  johnbakeronline | Mar 18, 2010 |
Ok, so I've now read a Richard Yates novel that I didn't like that much. Similar thematically to his other books, but the characters never come to life. If you're interested in Yates, don't start with this one...in fact, skip this one...but read Easter Parade or [b:Revolutionary Road|48328|Revolutionary Road|Richard Yates|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170354199s/48328.jpg|1235136] or A Special Providence or... ( )
  rodrichards | Sep 2, 2009 |
Ok, so I've now read a Richard Yates novel that I didn't like that much. Similar thematically to his other books, but the characters never come to life. If you're interested in Yates, don't start with this one...in fact, skip this one...but read Easter Parade or [b:Revolutionary Road|48328|Revolutionary Road|Richard Yates|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170354199s/48328.jpg|1235136] or A Special Providence or... ( )
  rodrichards | Sep 2, 2009 |
Ok, so I've now read a Richard Yates novel that I didn't like that much. Similar thematically to his other books, but the characters never come to life. If you're interested in Yates, don't start with this one...in fact, skip this one...but read Easter Parade or [b:Revolutionary Road|48328|Revolutionary Road|Richard Yates|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170354199s/48328.jpg|1235136] or A Special Providence or... ( )
  rodrichards | Sep 2, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385293321, Paperback)


Hailed as “America’s finest realistic novelist” by the Boston Globe, Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road, garnered rare critical acclaim for his bracing, unsentimental portraits of middle-class American life. Disturbing the Peace is no exception. Haunting, troubling, and mesmerizing, it shines a brilliant, unwavering light into the darkest recesses of a man’s psyche.

To all appearances, John Wilder has all the trappings of success, circa 1960: a promising career in advertising, a loving family, a beautiful apartment, even a country home. John’s evenings are spent with associates at quiet Manhattan lounges and his weekends with friends at glittering cocktail parties. But something deep within this seemingly perfect life has long since gone wrong. Something has disturbed John’s fragile peace, and he can no longer find solace in fleeting affairs or alcohol. The anger, the drinking, and the recklessness are building to a crescendo—and they’re about to take down John’s career and his family. What happens next will send John on a long, strange journey—at once tragic and inevitable.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:21 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

John Wilder is in his mid 30s. He has a good job, a Manhattan apartment, an adoring wife and a ten-year-old son. But something has changed in his life, and he suddenly finds himself slipping into a well of despair.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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