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The rediscovery and rejuvenation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is due in large part to its continuing emotional and moral resonance for an early 21st-century readership. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.
Yates's incisive, moving, and often very funny prose weaves a tale that is at once a fascinating period piece and a prescient anticipation of the way we live now. Many of the cultural motifs seem quaintly dated--the early-evening cocktails, Frank's illicit lunch breaks with his secretary, the way Frank isn't averse to knocking April around when she speaks out of turn--and yet the quiet desperation at thwarted dreams reverberates as much now as it did years ago. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the exacting cost of chasing the American dream. --Jane Morris, Amazon.co.uk
"So much nonsense has been written on suburban life and mores that it comes as a considerable shock to read a book by someone who seems to have his own ideas on the subject and who pursues them relentlessly to the bitter end," said LJ's reviewer (LJ 2/1/61) of this novel of unhappy life in the burbs. It is reminiscent of the popular film American Beauty in its depiction of white-collar life as fraught with discontent. Others have picked up on this theme since, but Yates remains a solid read.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
DaVinCat Book Review: I went into this book with relatively low expectations, having seen the movie first and getting pretty bored by it. I should have known better! Read morePublished 10 days ago by Jenni C.
A good retelling of love and suburban life in the sixties, and the irony that life sometimes imposes.Published 20 days ago by Dorothy Baisden
There have been many novels written about american life during this time period... "American Pastoral" comes to mind. Read morePublished 27 days ago by john brueggeman
Revolutionary,Road is as bleak a novel about the mismatch between the hopes and dreams of youth, and the realities of maturity, as any I have read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lady Fancifull
I liked this book a lot. Started out a little slow but definitely picked up. Read it in 2 days.Published 2 months ago by Theresa Richards
This book dove into how people are subjected to trials and tribulations of hope. strength, family and all that comes with marriages. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Linda C. Wells
This book is beyond its years, it will speak truths to people for years to come. It is filled with such tension and drama but such an honest drama, not the normal fake, overdone,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amy