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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.
Wonderfully written book that examines the ennui of modern life. The writing was concise, sharp and the story told was enthralling.Published 6 months ago by Jessica Davies
The Laurel Players is an amateur theater group with high hopes of establishing a loftier cultural standard in their Connecticut suburb, but their short-lived attempt to put on a... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2010 by Leslie Carmichael
Here is novel that ambitiously sets out to describe the essence of the American Dream as it impacts the lives of a very aspiring young couple who want to chart their own course... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2009 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
Frank and April Wheeler are a young couple who have a comfortable life in a lovely suburb. They go about their business - Frank hating his job in the city and April wishing she had... Read morePublished on March 7 2009 by Kona
It is a period in the middle of the twentieth century - the hopeful 1950s - and a young couple, Frank and April Wheeler, begin their marriage in New York. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2008 by Laurel-Rain Snow
Yates is brilliant in the first two sections of this book. In these sections, some of my marginalia reads: "A terrific description of a tender memory experienced through the hazy... Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Ethan Cooper
This story knocked me off my feet - I've read it three times. The quality of writing is so skilled, so perfect, that you just gape in awe at the page infront of you. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by Kate Smart
Devestating drama of marriage going bad in the suburbs, years before Updike and Cheever got to the same level of social criticism. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by readercrazy
So disappointed in this 50s story. Was motivatedd to finish, thinking the rave reviews had to make it worth it. It was not. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004