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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Revolutionary Road--A Review

I just finished Revolutionary Road. What a great book on the suburban culture of America. Frank and April are the quintessential suburbanites who have it all but have nothing. We pick up on them as they return from a play and get into a horrible fight. The frustration is amazing in how vicious it comes and the way Richard Yates funnels the stress of suburban living. This novel takes place in the fifties but it certainly could be today. April and Frank decide they want to go to Europe and escape the smothering sameness of their suburban existence. As they plan their getaway Frank has numerous affairs and is promoted at his company. The brakes are put on their plan when April becomes pregnant. Desperately unhappy she has an affair and they fight over the abortion that April wants to have. An ancillary character that visits them from a mental institution belies the question of who is really insane. The ending is right on, but what Yates does masterfully with this novel is he captures the soul deadening quality of suburban living in the 1950's. The frustration and desire of Frank and April of course are our own and while our resolution may not be as violent, Yates gives us a final image of a man turning down his hearing aid so he cannot hear his wife. He needs to say no more.

Books by William Hazelgrove