Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

RevolutionaryRoad

Read April 2014

This is classic American fiction, telling the story of a couple who think they are remarkable and above normal people but find themselves settling into a conventional suburban existence. He gradually gets into his job, which he originally did in an ironic and detached way, but she can’t bring herself to accept the role of suburban housewife. It draws to a dramatic end when she (April) dies whilst trying perform an abortion on her third child.

The book provides intensely accurate descriptions of work places, feelings people have about themselves and the awkwardness of relationships. I read someone referring to it as an excellent study of self-deception, which it is. Neither character come across well, but the husband (Frank) does seem more sympathetically drawn though – April is depicted as psychologically disturbed as a consequence of her upbringing whereas he is painted as self-deluding and selfish.

Is it saying that it’s better to conform regardless of your views? Maybe, or it could just be drawing to attention the modern inflict between individualism and societal norms.

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