Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trouble in the Suburbs. . .

I just finished reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates in preparation for the movie that is coming in December and that will (hopefully) get Kate Winslet an Oscar. Here's the trailer. It looks fantastic. The novel was heartbreaking - the story of Frank and April, a couple in a rut, not really knowing what they want out of life or how to get it, and unable to communicate with each other. It also makes one grateful to have a job one loves; the toil and misery that boring and unfulfilling work can wreak on a person's soul is illustrated in painful (and sometime humourous) detail through the characters, past and present, who inhabit the cubicles at Knox Business Machines starting with the story of Frank's own father. This is a world where nothing really lives up to its promise and the characters know it. Worse, they accept it - perhaps the crux of this tragedy.
This might be the start of a little Richard Yates revival. In the spring Everyman's Library will be bringing out a lovely hardcover edition of three works - Revolutionary Road, The Easter Parade and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. And Vintage is bringing back into print A Special Providence and Young Hearts Crying. I'll certainly be reading more of his work.

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