Reading Shelf Love’s post on Revolutionary Road today reminded me of how much I loved the novel, and also that I have a pile of Richard Yates books sitting on my shelf to read that, quelle surprise, I haven’t got around to yet. Thanks to Fiona at Vintage I have quite a collection now; alongside Revolutionary Road (which, admittedly, I hurriedly bought and read before the film came out just so that I could smugly say that of course I’d read it, ages ago actually – I am called Book Snob for a reason), I have The Easter Parade, Disturbing the Peace, and Young Hearts Crying to read, and they all look spectacular. When I say look I mean visually as well as literarily, as the Vintage republication of Yates’ entire oeuvre is absolutely stunningly produced; the covers are beautiful and worth buying just to look at, in my opinion!
If you haven’t come across Yates yet, I very, very strongly urge you to pick up one of his books; Revolutionary Road is probably the best place to start. They aren’t cheerful reads, I’ll admit that, but in their searing, raw honesty about the painful truths of life, they are breathtakingly beautiful. His characters are dreamers, hemmed in by the banality of their own picture postcard lives, the dreams they had for themselves slowly dying day by day, killed by the pressures of reality, and buried under a suburban mound of housework and bitterness. Yates is criminally underread; the film of Revolutionary Road has brought about a small resurgence, but still, not enough to do justice to the sheer brilliance of his writing. So, I am going to be spending the next couple of months reading my small collection of Richard Yates, and I’d love it if some of you would care to join me. To help you along the way, I have one copy of Revolutionary Road and one of Disturbing the Peace to give away; please put your name in the comments along with which book you’d like to win (you can say both!). To give everyone a chance I’ll do the draw at the weekend. All nationalities are welcome to participate. Good luck!