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Revolutionary Road Paperback – Apr 25 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 2 Reprint edition (April 25 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375708448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375708442
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 12.6 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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THE FINAL DYING SOUNDS of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium. Read the first page
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gulley Jimson on Oct. 28 2003
Format: Paperback
Reading the praise for this book actually made me less inclined to read it. Another unmasking of the banality of the suburbs and the bland conformity of the 50s didn't strike me as particularly appealing or necessary. Both of those things have been unmasked so often that I wonder why anyone bothers with either; there's nothing left to expose.
The choice of target is also a little unfair: first, hypocrisy and small-mindedness are not localized in the suburbs to the extent that authors and filmmakers seem to think. If a writer deliberately populates his story with caricatured materialistic bourgeois, then he shouldn't expect it to be a legitimate criticism of the age. In any case, if an audience can separate themselves too easily from the people being described, the book has no sting - like American Beauty had no sting. A real work of art should hurt a little.
But Revolutionary Road was not what I expected from the reviews. Yates knows all of the pitfalls of the standard send-up of the middle class: the main characters in his story are not the usual suburban types, but people who consider themselves better than the dull people in their neighborhood; they mock the people that we, as readers, are so used to mocking, and become our surrogates.
The real theme of this book is much deeper, and it transcends the era and even the plot of the book: what do people do when they are intelligent and spirited enough not to be satisfied with the conformity and blandness of their surroundings, but lack the drive to ever escape mediocrity, because they are, fundamentally, much more a part of their environment than they imagine?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Linda Oskam on July 19 2004
Format: Paperback
April and Frank Wheeler are around thirty and live in a suburb in Connecticut. They have a nice house, Frank has a job that is not too demanding and they have two small kids, so in essence all a couple can wish. Except, that they are not happy at all: April has not become the actress she wanted to be, they consider their neighbours and friends to be narrow-minded and they have fights over small matters that become so big that it is practically impossible to cope with it. In a last attempt to escape April decides that the family will move to Europe: she will work and Frank will finally have time to develop his talents. Frank does not exactly want to go, but he does not know how to tell his wife. And so the family heads for disaster without anybody noticing or knowing what to do about it.
This book was written in 1961, was nominated for big prizes together with such classics as Catch-22 and was forgotten after that. It is really a very modern book: the dreams and expectations of "the common" people have not changed much in all those years and the way in which Frank and April react and interact is only too recognizable. At times this book really hurts. You would like to shout to them: "Listen to each other!" "Don't fight over marginal subjects!" A good book that deserves to be rediscovered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeijingEr TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Oct. 14 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This movie is down-right depressive. The book, according to some reviews, is a bore. I'd say when it is super depressive, squabbling from beginning to end, with everyone showing no interest to no one else, that's where it's successful. The couple is deeply trapped in a rut, unable to set themselves free. I don't know if that's true or not in the 1950s, but it seems true here for many in the 2010s. Everything seemed right for them to stay put: a good life, a beautiful house, couple of kids, well-paid and secured career, and friendly neighbors and associates. All seemed unrealistic for them to dump all of that and move to Paris in an attempt to save them from endless recriminations. So they stayed for the tragic end.
Bore. But I felt it. It's telling us what to do. I hesitated long in the same situation. Now I see my future clearly. I am in the same rut they were struggling in, hopeless. When everything seemed right, everything was actually wrong. It takes true courage to do everything wrong, just to set things right again.
The rut we are in is: me and my wife both have to work to keep the house. No matter how comfy the house may be, that's not right. After 40 hours' work, all we are capable of feeling is tiredness and bore; all we have time for is replenishing the refrigerator and attack some long procrastinated chore. In the meantime, all money is pouring into the bills: big leaking holes never got patched up. Where do we see ourselves in 10 years' time? Same old s*** and nothing gets improved.
My happiest time in life was when I was renting a small room and working casually. There were no bills. $300 rent includes everything from internet to parking space, and every half a year, car insurance, that's it. I had plenty of time, leisurely hobbies and sense of freedom.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7 2000
Format: Paperback
I had heard Revolutionary Road described as "satirical", but I think the tone is realistic. In any case, this is a very well written novel about narcissists who have no love or affection for anyone in their lives: not their parents, not their spouses, not their friends. Most startling is their indifference toward their own children. These characters look at their small children and, even as they go through the motions of parenthood, don't even see them as anything other than burdens. As I read Revolutionary Road, I kept thinking, what kind of people don't love their own children? I think it is significant that none of these characters gives a thought to God or religion of any kind: no church on Sunday, no wondering what God wants from all of them. Actually, this book is a good advertisement for fostering religiosity or spirituality of some kind in one's life. Solipsistic angst may be inevitable for people who don't, in the parlance of 2000, "get over themselves". The writing warrants three stars for this novel, but I can't really recommend Revolutionary Road. Better that readers go back to Steinbeck or even Fitzgerald and read about existential problems in a moral context.
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