The Easter parade : a novel Hardcover – 1 Jan 1976
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Yates is no sentimentalist, and anyone who liked Revolutionary Road will not be expecting a laugh riot, but even so The Easter Parade is remarkably cruel and bleak. He puts his cards on the table in the opening sentence: "Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life..." and the following 220 pages pore over their unhappiness in forensic detail. If this was on TV it would be called When Lives Collapse! or possibly just Endurance.
The sisters are Sarah and Emily Grimes (note Dickensian naming: grim, grime). Their parents divorce and they live with their mother, who likes them to call her Pookie. Their father has a great job in a great newspaper - or so they think, until he tells them how he's really nothing more than a low-status hack. And then dies. Sarah gets married to a grunt called Tony and quickly gets a few kids under her belt. Emily meanwhile, who is really the centre of the book, goes through a string of unsuitable relationships, all of which end badly when he leaves her (because he's impotent) or she leaves him (because he's a bore) or he leaves her (because he's bisexual and wants to explore other avenues, so to speak) or she leaves him, and so on...Read more ›
This is a short but bleak book but even though the sisters may lives lives very different from that of the reader the author's descriptions of their choices and lives rings very true (at least to me). I thought that the simple way in which their lives are described and the naturally limited set of alternatives they have to choose from seemed real - the author is clear that our character and circumstances will limit our opportunities. He also describes well the regret we feel that we have not been able to make a difference in the lives of those we care for as well as the fact that we often let ourselves and others down.
This is an engaging story written with a lightness of touch which makes it accessible but in no way disguises the subject matter. I found it a touching, true and ultimately sad look at what we sometimes make of our lives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents' divorce. Read morePublished 3 months ago by FictionFan
I found this novel every bit as impressive as Yates’ more celebrated “Revolutionary Road”. Although focused on the two sisters, Sarah and Emily, and particularly the latter, it is... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bluecashmere.
Yates is a master at creating lonely characters.
'Easter Parade' is centred around the lives of sisters Emily and Sarah Grimes. Read more
Only about one sister. Repetitive. Terrible ending. Hard to have any empathy for any of the characters.Published 14 months ago by Tell it like it is
I really enjoyed this book, if that's the right word. I felt it was very visual and had a feel of realism about it. No happy endings.Published 15 months ago by Caroline Hall
compared to Revolutionary Road which I read some time ago, I found Easter Parade very disappointing and would not recommend it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by ms jay
The way the author pulls off that final moment of redemption for the book's main character, Emily, is truly remarkable, such economy and brilliance in the closing pages. Read morePublished 17 months ago by wiseprotector
He writes so beautifully, but his characters and situations are full of despair.Published 19 months ago by A. Booth
Not a cheery read as the cover might make you think! However loved this story, which was really well-written.Published 21 months ago by Happy wife