- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics (5 Jun. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099518546
- ISBN-13: 978-0099518549
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Collected Stories of Richard Yates Paperback – 5 Jun 2008
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"Yates was the most perceptive American writer of the twentieth century" (The Times)
"A major literary event...a remarkable achievement" (Independent)
"His short stories...are absolutely wonderful" (Joseph O'Connor)
'One of the greatest American novelists of the twentieth century' Sunday TelegraphSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
His short stories are equally powerful. The two collections - Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love - rate as among the best short stories I've ever read.
Collected Stories is made up of stories from the two collections named above as well as two stories previously published in 1974 and 1976 in the journal Ploughshares and other previously unpublished stories. This is a fabulous selection. The stories which haven't appeared in the previous two collections are every bit as bittersweet as the others. Yates manages to climb right into the psyche of every disaffected person he conjures up, whether it's an awkward, secretive and friendless child (A Private Possession) or an affable but insecure middle-aged man whose wife has left him (The Comptroller and the Wild Wind).
As with his novels, Yates's short stories are rich with detail taken from his own life. His parents' divorce, his drunken failed sculptor mother, his time in the US Army, his months in a TB ward after contracting tuberculosis, and his own failed marriages have coloured his work indelibly. Yet his stories, though bleak, are never depressing. There is always empathy or at least sympathy as the reader shudders at the floundering souls and their inflated ideas of themselves or their thwarted attempts at success, and there is black humour when they swagger in ludicrous ways, pretending to be people they aren't.
I was left, as ever with Yates, wishing I could flit back in time, buy him a pint and reassure him of his incredible talent.
The stories in Liars in Love are longer than in Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and, in an entirely unexpected turn for those accustomed to Yates's chronic despair, occasionally more optimistic. At least two of the stories - Regards at Home and Yates's longest story, the 44-pager Saying Goodbye to Sally - have tempered hope in their closing lines, as well as some actual jokes. And as always, the details and the dialogues are just so, every single mot precisely juste. The uncollected stories were a surprise, too - no leaden danglers here, scraped up off the bottom of the study drawer: the stories are shorter than most of the previously published ones, but no less achieved. We get to see elements of Yates's life that he hadn't previously cannibalized in novels and stories: such as wartime experiences (rendered with astonishing vigour and clarity in flashback in The Canal) and TB wards. There's a tiny four-pager, witty and brittle, in Bells in the Morning, and a rare first person narrative (Yates's only one, apart from Regards at Home?) in A Last Fling, Like.Read more ›
This collection, whilst not exactly a selection of cheery and uplifting stories (!) are beautifully crafted vignettes of different aspects of post-war American life.
Like RR it deals with the "smothered desire of suburban housewives, the white collar despair of office workers ..." [from the cover notes of this edition] but unlike RR, each story has a nugget of hope (not necessarily a happy ending!) but that 'hope for the future' is something I couldn't discern in RR and was what made it too dark for me.
I sometimes feel somewhat shortchanged by short stories, but the ones in this book are so intricate and so full of detail that I felt fully sated after each one!
Story by story, Yates punctures that homely Norman Rockwell illusion of happiness and affluence pumped out by American popular culture. All the author's signature themes are explored here: figures plucked from the lonely crowd feeling unfulfilled and misunderstood, from the despairing office worker to the quiet misery of the homemaker. This psychologically rich collection is the essential counterfoil to his novels, especially Revolutionary Road. I enjoyed it immensely. A must buy book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome! Don't hesitate to buy it if you have liked Revolutionary Road. You won't regret your purchase for sure! At least, I don't.Published on 27 Feb. 2012 by sabrina