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The Easter parade : a novel Hardcover – 1976


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440021979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440021971
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 981,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Yates was born in 1926 in New York and lived in California. His prize-winning stories began to appear in 1953 and his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. He is the author of eight other works, including the novels A Good School, The Easter Parade, and Disturbing the Peace, and two collections of short stories, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love. He died in 1992.

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Review

"[The Easter Parade is] Richard Yates' best novel, which makes it wonderful. From the first sentence to the last...I loved the book" (Joan Didion)

"Few men since Flaubert have offered such sympathy to women whose lives are hell" (Kurt Vonnegut)

"One of the United States' finest post-war novelists and short-story writers.He wrote some of the best fiction of his generation; it continues to give pleasure to all those readers who are fortunate enough to discover it" (Independent)

"A brave, brilliant book" (Sunday Herald)

"As touching as it is real, as beautiful as it is sad. Like a softer, subtler, less salty Updike, Yates expounds a poignant, suburban American realism" (Time Out) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

`That Yates manages to make the novel not only readable but... mesmerizing is testament to his powers as a storyteller'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Westley on 8 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
"Easter Parade" follows American sisters, Emily and Sarah Grimes, over forty years. They enter adulthood during WWII, and their lives follow tremendously different trajectories. Sarah is the traditional one: she marries early, has three children, and settles into a seemingly idyllic life in the countryside. Emily is more independent, and she experiences a series of unsatisfying intimate relationships and drifts through life. The novel chiefly concerns the relationship, or lack thereof, between the sisters and their family. The story climaxes in the 1960's with mild invocations of the women's liberation movement, and Yates draws clear parallels between the sisters and their times. Although the time period is specific, the characters remain amazingly relatable and universal.

The most exceptional aspect of Yates's writing is the effortlessness with which he encapsulates life: "The Easter Parade" is a relatively short novel - yet it's remarkably complete due to Yates's talent in creating scenes that so clearly recapitulate a particular period in the sisters' lives. Yates is best-known for his brilliant debut, "Revolutionary Road." His subsequent novels have received considerably less acclaim - an untenable situation considering the quality and exquisiteness of his writing. With "The Easter Parade" the story is simple but heart-breaking; the characters are unforgettable; the final epiphany is indisputable. Most highly recommended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Leyla Sanai on 29 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
The Easter Parade can be seen as a bleak novel in that great swathes of sadness, loneliness and ugliness permeate through the protagonists' lives. Much of this is due to Yates's simple, matter-of-fact style. He relates the story in a no-frills way, so that the utter pointlessness of life pokes through like a bony white toe through a threadbare sock. He rarely dwells on events and in many ways skims over the joys - motherhood, aunthood, love, friendship - that punctuate life. Seen from this vantage point, any life might appear bleak: the bitter-sweetness of childhood, the disappointment of finding that noone is perfect, the vileness of physically and emotionally cruel people, serial monogamy which, if a person ends up single, can be seen pessimistically as a series of failures, the ant-like way we live, scurry around and then die. That Yates manages to make the novel not only readable but also mesmerising is testament to his powers as a story teller. In Yates's hands, less does mean more, his pared-down style and conscious absence of literary gymnastics resulting in story-telling that is simultaneously easy to digest and hugely satisfying.

The story follows the lives of two sisters, Sarah and Emily Grimes, daughters of divorced parents, born in 1921 and 1925 respectively. Growing up with their flighty mother with occasional visits to their idealised father, they are very different. Sarah embraces conventionality and settles down early for what she hopes is an idyllic life with English public school-educated Tony who, to her infatuated eyes, looks like a young Laurence Olivier. Emily is spikier and more independant; she samples sex before marriage and decides she rather likes it, so she follows a more (for the time) daring route in life, working and having serial relationships with men.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bloodsimple on 9 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Inspired by the brilliant Revolutionary Road, I looked forward to this book. Compared to that classic, it falls short; viewed on its own merits, it's a good but untidy and uneven book. The sense of period, and the sharp attention to detail are both reminiscent of Yates' other work. His dialogue works well, and the gaps and silences in dialogue also work. Yates understands the reluctance characters might feel to confront, to push, to ask the awkward but necessary question. The relationships he draws feel vivid and lifelike.

The reasons this falls short of Revolutionary Road are twofold. Firstly, the main character (Emily) never quite gets an effective foil. She herself is a strong and colourful character, but she is allowed to drift because she never meets a worthy adversary or partner. This drift is accentuated by the lack of a strong trajectory to the plot - it moves along, but lacks the clarity of purpose that Frank and April Wheeler had - even if this was always downwards.

If you are new to Yates, this gives an idea of how he can draw character and conversation. Revolutionary Road remains, for me, the better book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. G. Mccarthy on 28 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Raw emotion gushes from the pages of this book. All Yates' powers of merciless observation are in evidence here. As you would expect, Yates' writing is exemplary and his characters compelling. Much of the material for the story is 'autobiographical' (Yates has said that he iis Emily in the book) and this is generally the case for all his stories, most especially Cold Spring Harbor. Easter Parade details the lives of the Grimes sisters and follows the differing trajectories these lives take. Sarah's choice is a married suburban existence whilst her younger sister, Emily, goes to college, and has a series of troubled relationships. Emily's early jealousy of her sister soon evapourates as revelations about her home life are manifested, as well as Sarah's battle with drink (a battle she will ultimately lose). The closing stages of the book, so full of loathing and rage are like nothing I've read before.

Successful relationships are not possible in Yates' stories. Each one begins with a compelling physical attraction and goes through all the stages of boredom, bitterness and hatred, all the time fuelled by a constant flow of alcohol (Yates' descrptions of drunkeness are reminiscent of Fitzgerald, who Yates was embarrased about being so in awe of).

The book is both beautiful and pessimistic. The characters try their best to control their words and behaviour, but the pressure builds and builds till finally those permanently damaging words inevitably come pouring out, wrecking everything.

The Vintage Yates collection are especially good. I love the ironic 'American Dream' covers.
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