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Revolutionary Road
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Product Description

The rediscovery and rejuvenation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is due in large part to its continuing emotional and moral resonance for an early 21st-century readership. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.

Yates's incisive, moving, and often very funny prose weaves a tale that is at once a fascinating period piece and a prescient anticipation of the way we live now. Many of the cultural motifs seem quaintly dated--the early-evening cocktails, Frank's illicit lunch breaks with his secretary, the way Frank isn't averse to knocking April around when she speaks out of turn--and yet the quiet desperation at thwarted dreams reverberates as much now as it did years ago. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the exacting cost of chasing the American dream. --Jane Morris,

"A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." —William Styron

From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

In his introduction to this edition, novelist Richard Ford pays homage to the lasting influence and enduring power of Revolutionary Road.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Revolutinary Road: Writing the way it ought to be
    This is the kind of writing that I always look for but seldom find in modern novels. Of course, that could be because it was written in 1961 before the craft of writing became something everyone thought they could do. Revolutionary Road is exaclty what a great novel should be: it's a good story that is well told with great dialogue, social insight and emotional impact. ...more info
  • Read the book before watching the movie
    I really loved this book, and believe it was very well written, and if not already a classic, should be. If you have not read the book, I would not recommend reading too many reviews. Too many people gave away the ending; and it might make you not want to read it. I read it fresh, without watching the movie first, or even seeing the previews. I really recommend this book; and loved the -what some called "tedious"- details. A real gem! ...more info
  • Excellent book
    "Revolutionary Road" is a wonderful, insightful and surprising book. It really examines the married relationship in a realistic manner. I loved it!...more info
  • Sad, but easy reading
    This was the most depressing thing I ever read. A couple - the Wheelers - that is miserable with themselves and can't stand suburbia. Perhaps there's just a sliver of truth for anyone who may read this book: everyone can relate to SOMETHING the Wheelers are unhappy about. There is indeed something stifling about middle class capitalism. But then, there isn't a stifle free lifestyle out there. Suck it up and get on with life. I really read this because the movie looked interesting, and because I love Mad Men and I figured this might be an interesting commentary on the same time period. I guess I was right about that latter part, but it just ain't the same as watching John Hamm strut his stuff. ...more info
  • Interesting look at post-war life
    This book has gained a reputation as being a condemnation of suburban life. It's truly not. Frank and April Wheeler are disillusioned with their lives. Frank Wheeler has experienced a life-changing episode -- World War II -- and, like so many other veterans of other wars, lives with day-to-day boredom, ennui, cynicism, and unmet expectations. He thinks, we fought a world-changing war for this? A boring 9 - 5 job, boring weekend parties, boring neighbors, and, sadly, boredom with his family life. His unhappiness is not brought on by a sense of geographic isolation or conformity. It is brought on by the trauma that he faced at a critical point in his development -- a young man experiencing a world war. These people would have been as unhappy living in mid-town Manhattan as they were in the suburbs of New York. Just as importantly, they would have been equally unhappy had they been able to actually run away to Paris, as planned. Yates' book is more in line with other lost generation reflections of war, such as Hemingway or Sassoon. Yates' writing is strong, well-paced, and, ultimately, traumatic. ...more info
  • Disturbing with unlikeable characters
    Frank and April Wheeler seem to me self centered characters, so much so I don't have much sympathy for their problems. The book was plain disturbing and the ending horrible--supposedly there were psychological underlying causes stemming from the couple's childhoods (which were described) but no reason for April's desperate act at the end of the book. Also, the ending had the main character Frank disappear from the narrative and there is no knowing what becomes of him after what happens to April. I also think the two were very vapid and I didn't see anything sympathetic about either. The lack of morality or any humanity of the couple was just plain jarring....more info
    I'm so glad to see other people found this just as boring. I saw the movie and was so moved by it I knew I just HAD to read the book, as is in most cases the book blows the movie well out of the water. So, if the movie was wonderful, the book had to be FANTASTIC!

    Boy was I wrong! Poorly written, SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. You feel dragged through the dirt of never ended depression and bore. I'm an avid reader and couldn't finish this garbage.

    See it soon in my garage sale....more info
    This book was so annoying. I don't understand all the high reviews. I wanted to jump in the book and strangle April. What a self-centered b***h. I will probably be stupid enough to rent the movie but only in the hopes they drastically change the story. ...more info
  • Decent Book
    This was the first book that I had to read for one of my college classes, and when I read the description I honestly thought it was going to be just another novel that all the girls would like that guys just wouldn't be able to get into. To my surprise, the novel actually ended up becoming interested in the story as I read, and wanted to finish the book (something I have rarely found when reading assigned books). It is a pretty depressing book, and while reading it I despised every character (except for one or two minor characters) for one thing or another. I think Yates' writing style is really what did it for me and helped make the book as good as it is. Overall, I wouldn't say that it is anywhere near one of my favorite books, but definitely something worth reading....more info
  • Almost too mean to read
    Frank and April Wheeler live the banal life they are supposed to want, knowing that they've become what they despise. Frank can only live with himself by maintaining a posture of contempt for everything he appears to be on the surface. It's a tricky game, and one well-played by Frank Wheeler. The problem comes when April proposes a way out.

    Breathtakingly ironic, savagely funny, perfectly drawn, this novel is almost too mean to read. Frank Wheeler's life is the focus, with April a secondary character until she is finally made the focus of the narration at the end of the book. Her section is completely convincing.

    Frank's love of his own voice is repellent, but it's so well done that you actually want to keep reading his, "the thing is" and "what I mean is" as he goes on and on with his pontifications. He is finally undone by his narcissistic assurance that his happiness is April's only goal. What a great read. Revolutionary Road completely transcends whatever misgivings I may have had about reading another book about suburban boredom and alienation. ...more info
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Not what I expected, but really good!
    When I say this book is not what I expected, I really dont know what I expected. I guess maybe I was expecting it to be a happier book. The story of Frank and April Wheeler is anything but happy. As a person looking in on their lives, they look perfect. April is beautiful, intelligent, fun and Frank is handsome and smart. They live in a small, but nice house with two great kids. But if you take a look at them behind closed doors, they are really screwed up. Frank is a jerk. He drinks way too much and treats April like crap. April is a superficial snob. I hated her character. Im not giving anything away, but I am still shocked about what happened in the end. Definitely a good read. I am looking forward to seeing the movie. ...more info
  • Not a great read.
    The book is well written. The story is a downer- leaves one with a bad taste in the mouth. This is not one of your feel good stories. In fact, I am rather sorry I read it.
    Does one want to be reminded of how easy it is to fail at life?
    ...more info
  • Simply boring
    I couldn't relate to this book at all. Although it has a plot that I can relate to, understand to, I just couldn't care less what happens with Frank and April. The book was simply boring, and I had high expectations (the book I'd finished reading before this one was Richard Russo's "Nobody's fool" - and that's what I call masterpiece).
    How can anyone sympathize with April after the play failed when afterwards she was acting like a spoiled schoolgirl and not an adult women? How can someone feel sorry for Frank when he has intentionally chosen the job he knew would bore him to death?
    Reading this book was like reading about your boring neighbors, who think they're so special but have nothing to prove that with. They think something extraordinary is waiting for them just around the corner, but are willing to put no effort to reach for it. They don't even try to do anything and still think the world owns them something. Would you care what happens with such ordinary, cowardly but yet very snobbish people? Well, I couldn't....more info
  • Revolutionary road
    This is a novel that captures suburban angst before it became an idea embedded in our collective consciousness. I found it difficult to like any of the characters, although by the last quarter of the book I felt sympathy for how stuck they all seemed. It's well written. It's certainly worth a read. I haven't seen the movie and am not moved to by reading the book....more info
  • Revolutionary road
    This is a novel that captures suburban angst before it became an idea embedded in our collective consciousness. I found it difficult to like any of the characters, although by the last quarter of the book I felt sympathy for how stuck they all seemed. It's well written. It's certainly worth a read. I haven't seen the movie and am not moved to by reading the book....more info
  • the 50s were not that revolutionary
    This book has not held up well over time. For one thing, the dialog may have been appropriate in the 50's, but today it sounds dated, with questions like "Are you sore at me?" and sentences frequently ending with "you see?". The subject matter is a little offbeat also. Frank and April are a young married couple with two children and consider themselves far too interesting to be living a conventional life in the suburbs. We're supposed to believe that April's unhappy childhood has rendered her incapable of love and that Frank's boring job is just a way station on the road to bigger and better things. To reach their true potential, April cooks up a half-baked plan to move to Europe, where April will be the breadwinner doing clerical work and Frank will have a chance to find himself. If this sounds to you like something that only artists or writers would do, then join the club--so do their friends and neighbors. Frank does, however, have the gift of gab, and a marketing flyer that he dictates off the cuff grabs the attention of a company executive, making the move seem less desirable. I'm not sure if there's a point being made here, but the book implies that hurtful words tossed out in a moment of anger produce dire consequences for this couple. They just did not seem real to me, but I'll bet that Kate and Leo bring them to life on the big screen.
    ...more info
  • Sad suburban lives lived out in the pages of Revolutionary Road
    Apparently Yates meant the title to refer to the revolutionary road of 1776 and this story to signify it's dead end in the 1950's. Although I found it slightly tedious reading at times, he manages this pretty well.

    Everything is so 'perfect' on the exterior; the estate, the jobs, the late afternoon cocktails, yet all the characters are shallow and superficial. No one has anything in their lives that is remotely interesting...and no one says what they really think (with perhaps the exception of John Givings, which is obviously an intended irony).
    They make the right noises, invite the right folks over for drinks or dinner and sympathise with each other before retiring to their homes to preen their ego's. Life is 'normal' and just fine.

    Although not American and not old enough to have lived through the fifties I had no trouble at all imagining the characters and where they lived and worked, this may be in part down to old films set around then, but credit has to be given to Yate's descriptive writing and truly perceptional character favourite being old Mr Givings, who tunes out by turning his hearing aid off...oblivious to his wife's gossip and quick-to-forget attitude about their former neighbours.
    ...more info
  • They Tried Their Best
    Richard Yates gives us a deep and sympathetic portrait of two people, April and Frank, who are almost, but not quite, courageous enough to do something really creative in their lives. The tragedy of the strong one, April, is that she wants to bring Frank up to her level, and she can't quite haul both him and herself over the threshold. But she goes down trying, in a blaze of glory if you ask me.

    Frank talks a good game and would play one if only he could. Yates knows how hard it is and doesn't judge him. Limited, less than perfect doesn't mean bad. It could even be well above average. It's okay.

    Yates is good about showing us April and Frank and then explaining them with their own thoughts. He lets them judge themselves, to the extent they can: again, April does better than Frank. But Yates is emphatic that you have to be crazy to actually tell the unvarnished truth. Yates himself just let's it show.

    It's a somewhat unambitious novel that stays close to home and to autobiography. But you write what you know, and Yates's humanity towards his characters carries the day.
    ...more info
  • Hard to get through...
    Did not like this book at all. Both April and Frank weren't characters I felt like I could root for. I bought the book because the trailers for the movie looked good. I wonder if this is a case where the movie would have been better. Just kind of boring throughout and I didn't really have sympathy for either character. ...more info
  • Revolutionary Road
    A wonderful writer...story is auto-biographical which helps because it is otherwise uninteresting and dull. The two stars are for the writing, not the story. Yates was 35 when he wrote this and had such insight into his male characters. Not much with females, but then it was the 50's...and he was a male! The movie, I am told, ends quite differently. Even so, I don't think I'll bother seeing it....more info
  • Great Seller
    The seller responded to my questions with such helpful information and knows his authors so well! ...more info