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Revolutionary Road (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Richard Yates
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)

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Book Description

THIS ORANGE INHERITANCE EDITION OF Revolutionary Road IS PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION



Books shape our lives and transform the way we see ourselves and each other. The best books are timeless and continue to be relevant generation after generation. Vintage Classics asked the winners of The Orange Prize for Fiction which books they would pass onto the next generation and why. Lionel Shriver chose Revolutionary Road.



This is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple whose empty suburban life is held together by the dream that greatness is only just round the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their hopes and ideals, betraying in the end not only each other, but their own best selves.



'I can't think of a better novel to hand on to readers growing up today than Revolutionary Road' Lionel Shriver



Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Originally published in 1961 to great critical acclaim, Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road subsequently fell into obscurity in the UK, only to be rediscovered in a new edition published in 2001. Its rejuvenation 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 or happy in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paid 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. However, as their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfilment 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 now 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 all seem to belong to a different world--and yet the quiet desperation at thwarted dreams reverberates as much now as it did 40 years ago. Like F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the poverty at the soul of many wealthy Americans and the exacting cost of chasing the American Dream. --Jane Morris

Amazon Review

Originally published in 1961 to great critical acclaim, Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road subsequently fell into obscurity in the UK, only to be rediscovered in a new edition published in 2001. Its rejuvenation 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 or happy in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paid 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. However, as their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfilment 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 now 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 all seem to belong to a different world--and yet the quiet desperation at thwarted dreams reverberates as much now as it did 40 years ago. Like F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the poverty at the soul of many wealthy Americans and the exacting cost of chasing the American Dream. --Jane Morris

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 519 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375708448
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (23 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GKMUWQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,390 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like it but it's brilliant 8 April 2009
By Suzie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't be put off if you find `Revolutionary Road' somewhat tedious at first. A brilliant exploration of the underlying feelings, dissatisfaction, and innuendo that can cause a relationship to develop, flounder, and finally fall apart, it's not an uplifting story, nor are any of the characters particularly appealing. For large parts of the book I really couldn't care what became of any of them. By the end, though, I was drawn into their lives to the point where, whilst still not liking them, I did at least feel some sympathy for them.

I can't even say that I liked the book - it's hardly an entertaining read, there's no feel-good factor and some may find it rather depressing - but I've given it 5 stars because, despite everything, it's an exceptional novel. You have to stop and think about the technique in order to appreciate just how perceptive and penetrating Richard Yates is. His attention to everyday detail is outstanding. The observations are so astute and often so subtle that it would be easy to read over them at a superfluous level and not appreciate their contribution to the story.

If you're not interested in the minutiae of relationships or are after an enjoyable holiday or bedtime read this is not for you. But it's a classic of its kind, a novel every serious reader should tackle at some time or other.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
How come I only just heard about this fantastic book? Set in 1950s suburban Connecticut, it tells the story of the less than idyllic relationship of Frank and April Wheeler. Although an onlooker may see them as an ideal couple in an ideal situation they both have layers and layers of dissatisfaction which come to the surface as their marriage crumbles.

The book was written in 1961 and seems to encapsulate all that we have come to associate with the previous decade. April appears willing to give up any pretence of a career to look after house and children while Frank goes each day to his "boring" office job (but he manages to find time for an affair with a secretary). Everyone drinks and smokes to excess - even in pregnancy. Frank's boss declares electronic computers to be the coming thing.....

Although both Frank and his neighbour Shep sometimes reflect on their time in the army during the war very little of the wider outside world creeps into the empty surburban world of Frank and April and their small circle of acquaintances. April comes up with a plan to move the family to France believing this will give Frank a fresh impetus to "find himself" but from the start you wonder if this will never happen.

Revolutionary Road is powerfully written and draws you into the lives of the Wheelers and their neighbours the Campbells and the Givings. It has some darkly comic moments and many flashes of brilliance. Yes, an American classic.

Did the creators of Mad Men (US TV series) get some of their inspiration from this book?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Published in 1961, this tale of 1950s suburban despair focuses most squarely on its male protagonist, Frank Wheeler, but it's much more his wife, April's, story. Pregnancy trapped her in the life expected for her, while he looked for (and apparently found) an un-taxing job in a corporation too large and inefficient to see how little he does.
Yet with suburban liberals having grimly hushed conversations on the state of US politics over almost subversive cuttings from the Manchester Guardian and the Observer (I thought US reading of the Guardian was internet trend) and obsession with new technology (Frank sells 'counting machines' and, maybe soon, $2m computers) it's easy to forget that this is the 1950s. Nevertheless, while April's desire for abortion and to go out and work is less shocking to contemporary ears, it still reads as fantasy.
Unhappiness fuels great disdain for all of suburbia and its inhabitants. Rather than pretend to be happy and get on, April dreams of immigrating to Paris, where she images a life of freedom; a life where she'll be the breadwinner and he'll 'find himself'. And Frank allows her to believe they have what it takes... for a time.
Ultimately, Revolutionary Road's not just a tale of despair and isolation, written at a time when the idea of feeling alone in a city of millions was a foreign concept. Or of a woman fighting society's expectations, written pre-feminism. It's a story of conformity and how easily those who fail to conform are labelled 'insane'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Frank and April Wheeler have the perfect 1950s lifestyle - the nice house in suburbia, the two children; he with the daily commute to a good job in the city; she, a home-maker, beautiful and decorative - the middle-class, mid-20th century American Dream made real. But strip away the superficial and we find two people who have failed to be the people they expected to be, who are living every day with the disappointment of what they and each other has become. There is a desperation at the heart of this book - the desperation of rats caught in a laboratory maze.

Although Yates takes us into the minds of most of the characters at points, we mainly see the world through the eyes of Frank Wheeler. The book begins as April takes part in an amateur performance of The Petrified Forest - a play with the central theme of artistic and intellectual worth trapped in a loveless and humdrum existence, but where tragedy leads to escape. No coincidence that this should be the play that Yates chose, and no coincidence either that the performance should fail badly, leaving April publicly humiliated. Already in these early pages, Yates has signalled his major themes of intellectual elitism, entrapment and failure.

Frank once aspired to lead the life of an intellectual, perhaps to be a Hemingway, defying convention and rejecting the lifestyle of his parents. He was feted in his student days as one of the coming generation, a brilliant conversationalist who would (in some way that he never quite got around to pinning down) have an intellectual impact on the world. April - beautiful, cool, aloof - aspired to be a serious actress.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the writing
I loved the writing. Succinct evocation of mood and event. As for the story: a long and pleasurable unwinding of a tragedy. Read more
Published 24 days ago by sue the scribe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great on time delivery!
Published 1 month ago by Misbah KHAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
present
Published 1 month ago by Carrie
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but awfully dull in places
I almost don't know how to feel. I found myself highlighting line after line due to the beauty of Yates' written style, but he lost me in places with his fixation on the Knox... Read more
Published 1 month ago by joss
5.0 out of 5 stars but what I have read gives me food for thought about the relative...
This is a masterpiece as are most of Richard Yates' oeuvre. I have not yet finished it as I only read in bed,but what I have read gives me food for thought about the relative... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. M. E. Ainsworth
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book.
I don't read much, but I really enjoyed this book. read it before the film was made.
Published 2 months ago by M. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I can't believe this master was out of print when he died. So truthful, so real. genius.
Published 2 months ago by Aux
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. Good structure
Excellent read. Good structure. Characters well drawn. Realistic dialogue. Fine critique of 50s middle class society, its aspirations and shortcomings.
Published 2 months ago by J B.
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT JUST AS MUCH
READ THIS BOOK MANY YEARS AGO, AND WAS EXCITED TO READ IT AGAIN. LOVED IT JUST AS MUCH.
SAW THE FILM, BUT YOU CAN'T BEAT THE BOOK.
Published 3 months ago by MOTOT
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Excellent book! There's little more to be said other than the fact that this is a great read. I ordered this as a book I was considering studying as part of my A-Level course and I... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Karinna
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