A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey

By Blake Bailey

The first biography of acclaimed American novelist and tale author Richard Yates

Celebrated in his best, forgotten in his ultimate years, purely to be championed anew via our best modern authors, Richard Yates has consistently uncovered readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our glossy age. vintage novels such as progressive Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the yank middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, determined career-girls and worried boys and squaddies, Yates's the United States was once a landscape of excessive residing, self-doubt and self-deception. And within the culture of alternative nice lifelike writers of his time (Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Cheever and Updike), Yates's fictional international reflected his personal. A manic-depressive alcoholic and unapologetic gentleman, his existence was once a hornets' nest of adolescence ghosts, the horrors of struggle, funds woes, and ebullient cocktailed evenings in long island, Hollywood, and the Riviera.

A Tragic Honesty is a masterful evocation of a guy who in lots of methods embodied the struggles of the nice American author within the latter 1/2 the 20 th century. status and present via heartbreak and obscurity, Richard Yates right here stands for what the author needs to sacrifice for his craft, the devil's discount of artistry for happiness, compliment for sanity.

National ebook Critics Circle Award Nominee for Biography (2003)

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Iowa and Beyond: From Bumblebees to Ivy 19 We liked going to movies and kicking up our heels at Danceland, the city ballroom. By the time I returned to Cornell, Floss was my steady girlfriend, and we had even talked about getting married someday. That fall in Cedar Rapids, I took German lessons because I had barely scraped by with a C in German at Cornell. My prospective teacher was a recent immigrant from Germany. Mr. Merner said he would teach me as long as I was willing to prepare each lesson fully and to show up at his place twice a week, promptly at 7 pm, for an hour and a half.

Collins gave us an old Cadillac, a four-door sedan, to travel around in. We visited funeral homes all across Iowa, staying in low-cost motels as we roamed the countryside. When hot weather approached, Jim always wanted to find the nearest public beach or swimming hole. He also had quite an eye for the ladies. ” If he glimpsed a pair of presentable young women walking down the street, he would pull the Cadillac over and strike up a conversation. On one such occasion, the women joined us for dinner, and because it was a very hot day, Jim asked them where we could all go for a swim afterward.

To make extra money in my senior year, I added retail sales to my radio repair business, with a shop on the second floor of a building on Main Street. I convinced the RCA and Atwater Kent radio suppliers to ship me a dozen sets. My shingle over the entryway downstairs read: “Leo L. ” I found an unemployed man—about 40 years old, intelligent, nicely dressed, and clean looking—to run the sales room whenever I was doing other things, mostly schoolwork. The radios sold well and my repair business picked up, too.

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