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Old 30th Jun 2006, 20:45   #21
HP
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Lovely to have another Yates enthusiast, Blix. I do wonder if John's and my gushings for the book were just too full-on perhaps, and put people off reading it, being heartily sick of hearing so much lavish praise steeped upon it, time and again. But as Wavid and you have discovered, he's so good and so unique, he inspires that sort of missionary zeal.
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 21:24   #22
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

It was those very same gushings that motivated me to read RR a month or two ago and I also enjoyed it very much. I gave it 1/2 stars on my palimplist and will definitely be picking up some more Yates in the future.
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Old 25th Oct 2006, 3:36   #23
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

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Originally Posted by John Self View Post
Yates never ever passes up the opportunity to spell out precisely what a character is thinking, usually about another character, and sometimes I would like to work it out for myself.
That is such an interesting comment, John, and I am continuously humbled by the fine analytical thinking of the Palimpers. It's one reason I joined here, to read those who are way ahead of myself in that realm and to work towards being able to write as strongly. That said, I think the work of the RR reader is to pull the cautionary tale from around the precise language and to let Yates' blistering portrait of American narcissism seep into one's personality as a constant prick against that easy but certainly deadly avenue. Through the eyes of Frank and April we get the direct load into their mistakes, but the unspoken chore, the final choice is ours. This novel is, in my very humble opinion, a love song from Yates to his readers. I think that through the Wheelers, Yates was lovingly saying goodbye to an older America and presciently warning of the dangers of the new. And my insights are something I worked out myself, a gift from Yates.

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I don't necessarily need to have happy endings but Yates doesn't leave you even a glimpse of hopefulness about the characters specifically or mankind in general. I tend to have kind of an optimistic (perhaps a bit naive) view of life though, so I suppose it's hard for me to reconcile that with the somewhat negative overtones in the book and the fact that there is no chance for a redemption of character for any of the main protagonists.
I'm an unabashed optimist as well, and it's work some days. But the glimpse of hopefulness comes when I read a novel such as this, recognize, arf! myself in some of the aspects, suffer the indignity of that acknowledgement, then pick up the knapsack and keep going. There's a section when he describes Mrs Givings coming home from dealing with people she disdains:

Quote:
The demands of the working day might take her deep into the ever-encroaching swarm of the enemy camp; she might have to stand smiling in the kitchens of horrid little ranch houses and split levels, dealing with impossibly rude people whose children ran tricycles against her shins and spilled Kool-Aid on her dress; she might have to breathe the exhaust fumes and absorb the desolation of Route Twelve, with its supermarkets and pizza joints and frozen custard stands, but these things only heightened the joy of her returning.
Her relief at entering her home, closing out the rest of the world, and congratulating herself on her fine tastes and sensibilities, yuck, I could almost feel my face blushing in shame as I've known the beginnings of that feeling. And want to avoid it.

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His remit was to tell the truth about characters like these, not present a sugared version of it to cheer everybody up ... which is another reason (apart from his fabulous way of expressing himself) that I love his work so much.
I love the truth in this novel, too, HoneyPotts. It's a breathtakingly honest work and in that straightforward prose and clear portrait of self destruction, there's hope for the reader and sympathy for his characters.

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I didn't even find it that dreary - I think the attitude I had when I read it was that this is what some people's lives are probably like.
Me too, Wavid, it didn't depress me or weigh on me because Yates allowed me some distance from the characters. It's as though he's hovering at a respectful distance and, through his somewhat detached style, protects the reader and creates a little bit of a buffer. I could read this all day long, given the chance, without tiring of the narrative or the characters. Maybe it's like a glancing blow, Yates delivers the message but doesn't pummel us with it.
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Old 7th Sep 2007, 10:37   #24
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Noticed this thread being searched by the web crawlers all week...any chance it's something to do with RR being A Book at Bedtime on R4?
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Old 7th Sep 2007, 10:56   #25
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

What are web crawlers? And how can you tell?
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Old 7th Sep 2007, 11:05   #26
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Web crawlers are automated programs - typically belonging to search engines - that follow hyperlinks and index the internet. Because of these (and the complicated algorithms that allow them to rank pages) our search engine results are thus ordered...and alway on the move.
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Old 15th Jan 2008, 11:11   #27
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Well, I feel like I should almost apologise for this, but I'm going to give Revolutionary Road its lowest* Palimpular score,

In all honesty, up until the 65-pages-to-go mark, that was in danger of being a , but the sheer misery of those last two or three chapters redeemed things.

It took me the best part of 8 weeks to crawl through; I wasn't gripped at all and was looking back all the time to The Easter Parade and happier unhappy times.




*I checked the Palimplists over the last 3 years or so
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Old 15th Jan 2008, 12:25   #28
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

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In all honesty, up until the 65-pages-to-go mark, that was in danger of being a , but the sheer misery of those last two or three chapters redeemed things.
The misery was superb, but I also enjoyed the build up to it, and how, in hindsight, the cracks started to show very early on. It doesn't hurt that I have a bit of am-dram in my recent history to make that first chapter stand out as a corker.
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Old 15th Jan 2008, 12:42   #29
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Default Re: Book 23: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

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The misery was superb, but I also enjoyed the build up to it
Ah, well there's the rub, because I didn't at all. I thought Frank and April and all the people they met (apart from John Givings) were just inexpressibly dull. Maybe that's the point - comfort-zone revolutionaries with no carry-through when push came to shove - but I couldn't get with them at all and I wondered why I was sharing my time with them.

Now, Emily and Sarah Grimes, described in two thirds of the space and time with a rat-a-tat-tat succession of misery thrown at them, that was entertainment.
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