By Blake Bailey
The first biography of acclaimed American novelist and tale author Richard Yates
Celebrated in his leading, forgotten in his ultimate years, basically to be championed anew by means of our best modern authors, Richard Yates has regularly uncovered readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our smooth age. vintage novels such as innovative Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the yankee middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, determined career-girls and anxious 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 practical 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 used to be a hornets' nest of early life ghosts, the horrors of conflict, 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 half the 20th century. repute and present by way of 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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Extra resources for A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates
My father was no politician, but he was Hungarian—and the moment someone disrespected him or a woman in his company, the Attila the Hun in him came out swinging. And there was blood. One time someone at a restaurant spilled red wine on my father’s girlfriend. Dad calmly signaled a waiter, ordered a bottle, and poured the entire contents over the offender. Satisfaction was demanded, and they met at dawn, spilling blood instead of wine. The year I turned sixteen, my father took me to my first duel, appointing me as his second.
But unless he was among the several thousand Jews saved or shielded by Raoul Wallenberg—the Swedish diplomat serving in Budapest who issued protective passports to those in danger—I suspect that an overdose of sleeping pills was the best possible fate that my friend could have met. August was brutally hot. Klâri and I had just returned from Lake Balaton, and we walked along the Danube. I kissed her good-bye, promising to meet her later for dinner. The four of us—György gone now—were meeting in the basement of the printing press.
She didn’t know what I needed or wanted from her, so she gave me cherry soup. And I was perfectly happy. From the ages of four to six, I spent my days in kindergarten. The school was run by a German, meaning that if I knew what was good for me, I’d learn to speak German, which I did. After kindergarten, until I was ten, came what we in Hungary called preschool. At the end of each day I’d come home, where some young women hired by Mother would feed me and put me to bed, my mom off doing whatever it was that show business people did all night.
A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey