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The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

The Easter Parade (1976)

by Richard Yates

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1,0325012,645 (4.07)47
  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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» See also 47 mentions

English (41)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
This older finely-written novel, originally published in 1976, is outstandingly depressing and tells about two girls growing up in a extremely troubled family. After one sister dies, the surviving (more together) sister observes: "Yes, I'm tired," she said. "And do you known a funny thing? I'm almost fifty years old and I've never understood anything in my whole life."
Richard Yates is known best for his novel Revolutionary Road -- the film version starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. He is also known for being a dark man himself, one who lead a very troubled life of his own. I read Blake Bailey's biography of Yates, A Tragic Honesty, years ago, and it became so obvious that he was writing what he knew. The troubled, mostly middle-class, constantly drinking and smoking people that filled his books lived in the Yate's world.
The two sisters in the book are very distinctive, and their lives take them in very different directions. The writing seems simple and direct, as Yates describes the decisions they each make, but there is a brutal side to the book when he reveals the heartache and the violence around the suburban sister, Sarah, and her unhappy marriage. Her sister, Emily is a much more independent woman, always worked in the city, and had many lovers and relationships, but her life has many problems of its own.
The storyline still swirls around in my mind. It took me many years to finally read this novel, and I agree with Joan Didion, when she declared it to be her favorite Yate's novel. His fiction is painful to read, but the writing always reveals itself to be so well crafted and worth it.
_____ ( )
  jphamilton | Aug 7, 2019 |
Yates è un grande. Dopo Revolutionary Road, libro e film che adoro, Easter parade racconta un'altra storia emozionante quanto triste. Il fatto che nasconda aspetti autobiografici lo rende ancora più triste e bello. ( )
  lucaconti | Jan 24, 2019 |
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. [2011] ( )
  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 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

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)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Even as little girls, Sarah and Emily are very different from each other. Emily looks up to her wiser and more stable older sister and is jealous of her relationship with their absent father, and later her seemingly golden marriage. The path she chooses for herself is less safe and conventional and her love affairs never really satisfy her. Although the bond between them endures, gradually the distance between the two women grows, until a tragic event throws their relationship into focus one last time. Richard Yates's masterful novel follows the two sisters from their childhood in the 1920s through the challenges of their adult choices, and depicts the different ways they seek to escape from their tarnished family past.

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