The Easter Parade

I have’t kept up with the up-and-down reputations of some authors. Several years ago it was suggested to me that I read an excellent but almost forgotten author, Richard Yates. At that time a collection of his stories was all I could find at my local big-box bookstore; I read a few stories and later bought a Yates’ novel off the remainder rack, but I didn’t pay much attention to the author. Two novels—The Easter Parade and Revolutionary Road—were waiting for me to read, hidden in the back row of my bookshelves.

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The Tragic Irony of the 1950s

Richard Yates has one of his primary characters in Revolutionary Road offer this fantasy view of life:

… I still had this idea that there was a whole world of marvelous golden people somewhere, as far ahead of me as the seniors at Rye when I was in sixth grade; people who knew everything instinctively, who made their lives work out the way they wanted without trying, who never had to make the best of a bad job because it never occurred to them to do anything less that perfectly the first time. Sort of heroic super-people, all of them beautiful and witty and calm and kind, and I always imagined that when I did find them I’d suddenly know that I belonged among them, that I was one of them, that I’d been meant to be one of them all along, and everything in the meantime had been a mistake; and they’d know it too. I’d be like the ugly duckling among the swans. — April Wheeler

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