zondag 15 februari 2015

Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road


This was my second time reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.
It has 338 pages and I got it in the beautiful Vintage edition.

Revolutionary Road is Yates' debut novel and in his own words his best work.
It was shortlisted for the National Book Award.

“In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank's job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.”

This is such a beautiful novel. I loved it even more than the first time.
It’s not sentimental or melodramatic. It’s a clear, controlled and bleak novel.

Frank and April purport to disdain the traditional American suburban lifestyle where everyone should be the same, have the same, want the same and feel the same.
But in Frank’s case this ridicule is just camouflage for his real fear of being uninteresting and unloved by April, for his lack of confidence in his own masculinity. 
Now he is trapped in a job he didn’t want to prove he can provide for his family and he lives in a house in the suburbs because it is expected. These actions and his constant contempt for this very lifestyle only serve the purpose of making him feel like a real man.
His anti-suburban talk and ridicule has become an empty gesture to make him feel sophisticated and to being in April’s eyes the interesting, stifled genius he once was.
When April proposes a move to France he acts enthusiastic but he fears the change and he fears being imasculated even more. For that reason (being less of a man) and only for that reason he takes the moral position and he convinces April to keep the baby, because her unwillingness to bear his child makes him less of a man and unloved by her.

Man this is a work of a true genius.
I loved it; the beautiful prose, the haunting, bleak story, the heart-rending emotions and the almost real characters.
The novel made me cry the first time I read it. Revolutionary Road did it again this time.
It’s a wonderful and amazing novel.

Happy reading!