Friday, 20 February 2009
I was guided towards this book as one which dealt with the world of work, which is relevant to the novel I am writing. It is remarkable.
It has the most authentic marital row I have ever read (page 40 of the Vintage edition).
It offers a wonderfully realistic picture of reading to young children (page 56)
Revolutionary Road gives a great sense of the feel of a 1960's office. The sense of annoyance with a young mistress, I suspect, must surely ring bells for any who have walked that path.
It is written at a good pace but with no strong plot; it is very much a book about the interaction of characters. Tennessee Williams said about the book, 'this is more than fine writing; here is what makes a book come immediately, intensly and brilliantly alive...a masterpeice'.
He's not wrong.
For me the best aspect of this book is the astonishingly realistic dialogue. Richard Yates obviously listens alot. But it is more than that, since he embeds the thoughts of the characters and allows them to use words in their heads which they dare not use out loud.
An intriguing character is John, a resident in a mental institution, who tells it as it is. He is the character, the only character who tells what he sees. He is the child, but with the maturity of the adult.
The dialogue tends not to be short and sharp, rather Yates gives the characters room for extended and involved conversation.