This is a book that, over the years, has come up again and again as a book that a number of novelists have cited as one of the pivotal books in their reading development. I really wanted to get it under my belt before the onslaught of movie previews came out for it this fall. It is a brutal and aggressively critical but empathetic look at middle class suburban life. Published in 1961 and set in 1955, it certainly has a bit of a dated feel to it: what was clearly shockingly critical and revelatory at the time does not quite have the same effect today--many others have followed Yates' lead and carried on. Yet, still, the novel has an incredibly powerful punch. If you read this merely as a commentary on society, the novel does not quite have the thread you would think it needs. But it is actually Tragedy (capital T intended). Every small point early in the book is groundwork for what is to come. No character is safe from the author's harsh view of the world, nor are they abandoned in that world--they are all given their due sense of purpose and entitlement. It is touching and appalling. It is hard to recommend something this unpleasant and bleak. But here I am saying: get your high ball glass, fill it three fingers high, hold it tight, and dive into this book.— From Robert
“Set in the Connecticut suburbs of 1955, Revolutionary Road portrays the essential, continuing, now exacerbated American dilemma: How a young person might well live in America without conforming to the tedium of upward mobility and suburban family life. Nothing I have ever been told could have prepared me for this book's brilliance.”
— Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS
Hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs since it's publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road is 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.