Sunday, January 20, 2008

Revolutionary Road (by Richard Yates)

Recommended by my friend Stephanie and also on the Time List that I seem to be committed to reading next. (That list has some cool choices on it, including things like Snow Crash and of course, Pale Fire.) I wanted to see it before the movie version comes out, which obviously I will be seeing, since it's Kate and Leo, reunited! Although it's no Jack and Rose type story, but instead a story of middle class alienation in the 50s. Cool Yates quote from Wikipedia on the novel's title:

"I think I meant it more as an indictment of American life in the 1950s. Because during the Fifties there was a general lust for conformity all over this country, by no means only in the suburbs — a kind of blind, desperate clinging to safety and security at any price, as exemplified politically in the Eisenhower administration and the Joe McCarthy witchhunts. Anyway, a great many Americans were deeply disturbed by all that — felt it to be an outright betrayal of our best and bravest revolutionary spirit."

Overall, an excellent and thought-provoking book, very real and relatable, and very much on the theme of the American Dream. It makes a good companion to books like The Great Gatsby, Appointment in Samarra, and even, in a weird way, Under the Volcano. Definitely a classic.

4 Comments:

Blogger Drake said...

Like An American Tragedy, darker than Richard Ford's Lay of the Land, filled with lacerations. The men in brown suits and their women in polka dot dresses bled quietly and profusely. High octane alcoholic self-administered anesthestics. The humanity of children, their separate plight from parents encapsulated in Narcissistic suburbanism. Desperate school-boy envy by 40-year-old men who never left behind their broken teenage dreams. Women trashed without being hit. The sad, empty, and, finally, tragic Revolutionary Road. Angst, guilt, fate, escaping to nowhere. Progress denied.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Drake said...

Like An American Tragedy, darker than Richard Ford's Lay of the Land, filled with lacerations. The men in brown suits and their women in polka dot dresses bled quietly and profusely. High octane alcoholic self-administered anesthestics. The humanity of children, their separate plight from parents encapsulated in Narcissistic suburbanism. Desperate school-boy envy by 40-year-old men who never left behind their broken teenage dreams. Women trashed without being hit. The sad, empty, and, finally, tragic Revolutionary Road. Angst, guilt, fate, escaping to nowhere. Progress denied.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like An American Tragedy, darker than Richard Ford's Lay of the Land, filled with lacerations. The men in brown suits and their women in polka dot dresses bled quietly and profusely. High-octane self-administered alcoholic anesthesia. The humanity of children, their separate plight from parents encapsulated in Narcissistic suburbanism. Desperate school-boy envy by 40-year-old men who never left behind their broken teenage dreams. Women trashed without being hit. The sad, empty, and, finally, tragic Revolutionary Road. Angst, guilt, fate, escaping to nowhere. Progress denied.
-- Drake Steelwill (bustermauve@gmail.com)

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent book! How wonderful to finally have my own feelings about why I didn't have kids validated. Talk about taking the road to oblivian/ the tedium of conformist suburbia: family life; the 'joys' of children; and all the sentimental pap that they push on you as a young woman until they choke you to death and beat you into the role of wife and mother. I can't see the movie doing very well though- nobody wants to see this exposed; people might have to admit to the futility of their life choices, and that doing it the way you're supposed to is a horror. Everyone will want to keep on pretending.

8:10 PM  

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