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Disturbing the Peace Paperback – April 1, 1984


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (April 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385293321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385293327
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the handful of American novelists…who can be said to have a ‘vision of life.’ ” —New York Times Book Review

“Richard Yates is among the very truest of American writers. Each of his novels and each story unfalteringly traces our destinies and rescues us from the lost. He sees eye-to-eye with every one of us.” —Gina Berriault

“Yates’ strongest novel since Revolutionary Road.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

A native New Yorker, Richard Yates was born in 1926; his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was a finalist for the National Book Award (in the same year as The Moviegoer and Catch-22). Much admired by peers, he was known during his lifetime as the foremost fiction writer of the post-war "age of anxiety." He published his last novel in 1986, and died in 1992.

More About the Author

Richard Yates was born in 1926 in New York and lived in California. His prize-winning stories began to appear in 1953 and his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. He is the author of eight other works, including the novels A Good School, The Easter Parade, and Disturbing the Peace, and two collections of short stories, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love. He died in 1992.

Customer Reviews

This is the story of John C. Wilder and his descent into insanity.
R. E. Whitlock
I found the book incredibly insightful, with accurate representations of the madness of addiction.
Douglas Bowman
As unsympathetic as this character presents to us, we cannot help but feel his pain.
Laurel-Rain Snow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By vanishingpoint on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Some have said this is Yates' weakest work, and I suppose it might be, but I think credit has to be given to Yates for even managing to pull this off. This is a tough story to write, a man's journey from sanity to insanity. Yates stays in his usual third person narration all the way, even when the main character goes completely nuts, so his delusions become our delusions.

It's not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination - we get a no-holds-barred view into Bellevue and the complete breakdown of the protagonist. There isn't a likeable character in the entire novel, which isn't that different from Yates' other works, but the problem here is that it's very tough to have any sympathy for the main character, John Wilder. In Yates' more successful books, no matter how nasty the characters, we can't help but to feel for their faults. Not so here.

Disturbing the Peace may not have the amazing pace of The Easter Parade or the driving power of Revolutionary Road, but it's still a pretty good read. It's a tough book to find nowadays, so if you can get your hands on it, pick it up.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Bowman on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel, by one of my favorite late 20th century writers, is a compellingly realistic story of the downward spiral of an alcoholic. It's power comes from the exacting insights into the mundane existence of the characters trying to survive and thrive in modern society; along a view into the mind of a man making a step-by-step descent into a private hell. As Yates draws you into Wilder's mind, you find yourself,like the main character, unable to see the bottom, until you have made the slow descent into insanity.

I found the book incredibly insightful, with accurate representations of the madness of addiction. The book never descends to the level of moralizing or sermonizing, and that makes it all the more powerful. Yates creates an empathy between reader and character, and that makes the outcome all the more gripping.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Whitlock on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the story of John C. Wilder and his descent into insanity. Wilder is a highly strung hard drinking affluent salesman, a husband and father. He tries to hide his low self-esteem which stems from a mild dyslexia and being somewhat short in stature. He seeks to fill the void in his life through drinking and women.

At one point, all of Wilder's ambitions seem within his grasp. He falls in love with a woman who encourages him to pursue his dream of producing films, and it seems he has a real talent for it. However, the seeds of insanity are sown within him. Time after time, he reaches out for help, to his family, to psychiatry, to AA, looking for understanding and support, but every reed breaks at his grasp. It is a disturbing novel. We are left doubting if anything could have averted his fate.

Yates always gets everything right. The dialogue, speech cadences, observations, structure: his writing is a beautiful thing to observe. He is never simplistic. Yates has a reputation for being a devasting chronicler of American suburbia. He is that, but in this novel he shows that he can deliniate urban angst and despair as well.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gary Britson on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
In his writing classes, Richard Yates said that the most important thing to him, as a writer, was "telling the truth." He wasn't interested in pyrotechnics. He was interested in technique as an instrument to be used in "telling the truth." He had us read "In Our Time" and "Nine Stories." He respected accuracy, economy, the telling detail. He had no interest in the fancy, the glib. He was obviously deeply influenced by Hemingway. For my money, Yates is better. This masterpiece will tell you what it's like to crack up. No Hollywood, nothing fancy, no self-pity. Just "telling the truth." Read this, then read the rest of Yates. You won't be sorry. The guy knew what he was talking about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Cluer on April 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Richard Yates is one of the great American authors, in there with John Cheever and John O'Hara, His book 'Revolutionary Road' is the best chronicle of the cancer in the bowel of the American dream ever written,(read the book, avoid the lousy movie). Disturbing the Peace is a gripping, impossible-to-put-down novel of an alcoholic on a self-induced downward path to madness; and while I appreciate that this doesn't sound like much fun, which it isn't, it is nevertheless superbly written and is a treat to read; rather like Phillip Roth but without the Jewish sensibility. It also teaches anyone who has had the experience of alcoholism in their life that the people who embrace it do so out of an almost willing self-destructiveness.. In the 34 years since it was written it has not dated by a word - it's a painful read but it's a fine novel by a great novelist.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Schell on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are books that make you think, and there are books that make you feel. Disturbing the Peace is both. It is the story of a man and his descent into insanity. But it is so much more than that. It is the story of ourselves, told quite plainly, and in such a way that, as a reader, it's very easy to slip in and out of the minds of all the characters, because they are us.

Disturbing the Peace made me think, feel, and believe that I was not simply watching this story unfold as it was told to me, but rather, I was a part of the story as it unfolded around me.

The brilliance of Yates is not in the writing. Rather, it's in the non-writing, that is, what he doesn't put on the page. And opening this book - and any of his books - you are invited to join in and watch or partake as the world crumbles.

Why the genius of Yates has never caught on, we'll never know. Perhaps people were afraid to peer into the stories and see such bold and disturbing representations of themselves and their lives.

Highly Recommended.

Five Stars.
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