Revolutionary Road

By Richard Yates,

Book cover of Revolutionary Road

Book description

Hailed as a masterpiece from its first publication, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright young couple who are bored by the banalities of suburban life and long to be extraordinary. With heartbreaking compassion and clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April's decision to…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Revolutionary Road as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I read that Matt Weiner wouldn’t have had the courage to write Mad Men if he’d read this before he worked on the series.

Revolutionary Road is set in the world of New York advertising during the martini lunch era, and it’s one of my favorite books of all time. It doesn’t exactly have that Singin’ in the Rain optimism, but it’s darkly hilarious. The opening scene is literary perfection, set at the dress rehearsal for the Laurel Players.

Yates masterfully captures that Waiting for Guffman sincerity (and inherent comedy) of community theater, and the novel sets the stage for…

From Heather's list on a nod to Broadway.

I came to Richard Yates through his short stories, but it is his 1961 novel, Revolutionary Road, that endeared me to him for all time.

Frank Wheeler, Yates’s protagonist, works in the Sales Promotion department at a company called Knox, commuting each day from his home in the suburbs to an office building in New York City. Knox is a world of folders and tabulators and typewriters and code numbers, Wheeler’s “bright, dry, daily ordeal, his personal measure of tedium.”

But despite being a site of spiritual murder, Knox affords Wheeler a degree of solace, as he takes “dim…

From David's list on working life.

It’s the 1950s and in spite of the staid conservative culture of the times, Anne Wheeler and her husband Frank have artistic aspirations. When they move from New York City to Connecticut, they struggle to hold on to their identities. Anne is adrift, starring in amateur suburban theater and keeping house and Frank is working long days in a job he hates. When their plans to move to Paris are derailed, the result is tragic. This horror adjacent novel is single-handedly the main reason I never settled in Westchester or Connecticut—opting for a funky Hudson Valley village insteadand…

This book helped me to get inside the mind of suburban 50s Americans. The Wheelers are an all-American couple, living the American Dream, where everything must be perfect. April and Frank are beautiful and successful with lovely children and a lovely house. But not far under the gleaming surface, rot is festering. Feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, and boredom are destroying April and Frank, and their marriage. The novel dissects the Wheeler’s relationship as they struggle against the trap society has set them of needing to keep up appearances. There is adultery and domestic violence. Only one voice points…

Don't see the movieread the book first; I always tell people that, when I recommend this book. It's truly an extraordinary piece of literature, and if I may be so bold, I feel like it's one of the best books written about how trapped people feel in their lives, their marriages, their choices. Every single part of this book is written in exquisite detail, the dialogue bristles with passion and contempt, and the way Yates writes the environment around the characters... he just makes every element shine, no matter if it's joyous or miserable. It's truly one of…

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