Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don't hesitate to read Yates

Revolutionary Road, Yates' most acclaimed novel, was one of my favorite books that I read in 2010.  I decided that I should read more Yates, so I picked up The Easter Parade from the library.  Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  In fact,  I went on a long walk in San Francisco and picked quiet, tree-lined streets where I could walk without the possibility of bumping in to people.  That is how absorbed I was.  This is because Yates immediately draws the reader into the story, with witty dialogue and pitch-perfect scenes.  His writing is snappy and smart.

Set in the 1930's, the novella follows the lives of two very different sisters, Emily and Sarah Grimes, as they grow up and navigate relationships with men, with each other, and with their off-kilter mother Pookie.  Yates is a master of describing intimate and emotional moments between his characters, and he fines a balance between the tragic and the comic. 

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Oh dear, the way they're breeding," Pookie said on hearing of the third pregnancy.  "I thought only Italian peasants did things like that."

"There was learning not to be stricken dumb when you walked into a party full of older, certified intellectuals - and not to make the opposite mistake of talking your head off, saying one inane or outrageous thing after another in a hopeless effort to atone for whatever inane or outrageous thing you'd said two minutes before."

"God!" he said when they were back on the train for New York.  "Every time I go out there it takes me days to recover - whole days just to get to the point where I can breathe again..."

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