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The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Paperback – October 23, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Tom and Betsey Rath are married with three kids trying to keep up with the Joneses in their Connecticut suburb while Tom climbs the corporate ladder in Manhatten. The day to day conflicts are pretty interesting, but about halfway through the novel, Tom sees someone that brings his war past into the present.
The title of the book has come to mean the bland working man of the 1950s, but our hero Tom Rath is not bland. He has enough inner conflicts to field an Olympic team. Tom isn't some sycophant trying to get ahead, but a guy who killed and watched his friends get killed in the war. I wasn't expecting the depth of character.
The novel is written in clear direct language that makes it easy to follow the story and the real complexities of life. Stylistically, the omnipotent narrator is usually in the head of our hero Tom, but he occasionally jumps around to other minds for variation. Just as you've made up your mind about a simple character the narrator jumps into their skin and they too become a flesh and blood person.
The modern day criticism is that the novel has a happy ending, especially since happy endings are frowned upon in post-modern literature. But the important part of the book is not the resolution but the journey and Wilson gets the journey just right. I'm glad I gave the book a chance.
Sloan Wilson's THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT is such a work. Intended as mere novelized autobiography, it struck such a chord with readers that, decades after it was written, it still symbolizes for many the oddly shallow dark side of what was supposedly America's "Golden Era" - the 1950s.
SUIT is the story of Tom Rath, a middle-class American everyman who, in the mid-1950s, experiences a kind of premature midlife crisis. On the surface, Rath seems to be rock solid - he has a beautiful wife, three kids, a car, a house in the New York suburbs, and a good job with a secure future. Stepping off the A train with briefcase in hand, his missus always has a cold Martini on hand, and a nice meal on the stove. Hell, his aged grandmother is even about to will him a mansion on Long Island! By the plastic-fantastic standards of the 50s, he should be ecstatic. But he isn't. He isn't even happy, and neither is Mrs. Rath. They are, in fact, pretty miserable.
The Rath's prosperity is actually an illusion.Read more ›
There are many interesting and important subplots, but the three interrelated central issues confronting Tom regard his attitude toward his wife, his employer, and his past (Maria and the son struggling to survive in post-war Italy). The tension and joylessness that pervade his life hinge on whether or not he can resolve these conflicts. He resolves the issues at home by standing up and fighting for passage of a school bond measure; the issue with his employer by being completely open and honest (instead of playing the cynical game he thinks he is expected to play); and the issue with his past, by committing to send $100 a month to help his son in Italy -and coming clean with his wife Betty about his affair with Maria.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a very well written book about the times in the fifties and how easy it was for some people and how hard it was for others. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Joseph L. Shaw
Published in 1955 The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit is an interesting look back at the 1950s and the way consumerism, work, the striving for always more and always better, took... Read morePublished 8 days ago by John Paul Sassone
Wow, I really enjoyed this, and I don't know why! It was interesting that further down in the book, the author chose to display the backgrounds and thoughts of many of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Future Boy
You don't see many gray flannel suits these days. I read this novel at the prompting of Dan Pink, who wrote about it. He saw it as a period piece, which it is. Read morePublished 2 months ago by todd french
This was a surprisingly good story! It really gave a sense of how men felt after World War II returning to regular home life and the women that married them. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jody G.
I would recommend it for numerous reasons. An honest and realistic view of the struggles of a WW2 vet's reintegration into civilian society.. Read morePublished 4 months ago by charles blackman
As advertising people, we spend much of our time trying to create images that become icons of the era and language that becomes the argot of the age. (Or at least, some of us do). Read morePublished 7 months ago by The Agency Review
"The most significant fact about me is that I've become a cheap cynic." (Job interview answer. Read morePublished 10 months ago by J. Rodeck