Tuesday, December 2, 2008
TITLE: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
AUTHOR: RICHARD YATES
This book tells the story of a suburban tragedy. First published in 1961 and set in 1955, it's very much a portrait of that time. Yet, I can't help feeling it's also a timeless tale of loneliness within a marriage, alienation within the suburbs.
Frank and April Wheeler are a married couple with two children, living in the suburbs from where Frank commutes into New York City to an unsatisfactory job while April stays at home for an unfulfilling existence of her own.
Hope alights into their dreary life and relationship when April comes up with a plan for them to leave all behind for a fresh start in Paris.
However, the combination of Frank cowardly back tracking from this plan and an unplanned pregnancy mean that instead of a positive new beginning, the story ends in tragedy.
This is not a happy or optimistic story. Although there are no out and out bad characters, none of them have any redeeming qualities either. It describes small and uneventful lives in a small and uninteresting environment.
However, somehow the book avoids being depressing, even while the story is sad and thought provoking.