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The Easter Parade (1976)

by Richard Yates

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0875313,200 (4.05)47
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.… (more)
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Legacy LibrariesNelson Algren
  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 a life.… (more)
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» See also 47 mentions

English (42)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Sarah and Emily are sisters. Yates takes us from their childhood through their middle age. He tells us in the first sentence that their lives are not easy. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't, the choice women have to make. A traditional devoted marriage, or not getting trapped. It's gritty reality throughout, mostly the New York City region, from the 1930s through the 1960s. ( )
  kukulaj | May 21, 2020 |
The moral of the story is start a family or you'll be miserable and alone. Or is the moral start a family and you'll also be miserable and alone? It seems that miserable and alone is the moral.

This was depressing, especially the ending, but it was a really quick and easy read. The characters were interesting and the writing was good.

Damn if it didn't make me worried about getting old though. ( )
  theMK10 | Feb 1, 2020 |
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.
_____ ( )
1 vote 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 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Yatesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Øye, AgneteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laird, NickForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardi Bom, AndreinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Lloret, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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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