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The Easter parade : a novel Hardcover – 1 Jan 1976

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Poignant taleâ ¦ His tales are wonderfully gloomy and self-referential."

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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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's slightly cheeky of Richard Yates's publishers to put out The Easter Parade like a new book, in large format. He's been dead ten years of course, and just didn't have that Calvino-Cookson foresight to plug his drawers with half-baked doodlings on which his family could keep themselves in the manner etc. etc. after his death - what an idiot! - so The Easter Parade is actually an old novel, first published in 1976 and reissued now to cash in on the sleeper success of, well, his last reissue, Revolutionary Road.
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...
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By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 April 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book about two sisters; about their relationship, their fallings out, their jealousy and ultimately their inability to sustain each other in their separate lives. The sisters are born in America in the 1920s and grow up to try two different ways through life - one chooses marriage and family and the other chooses career and serial short relationships. Neither is happy and their relationship with one another is also disappointing. It is almost as if the author is saying that none of us has the life we want or aspire to and that our existence consists of making the best of what we have - and that we might not even succeed at that.

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.
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