If somehow, there came a time when I was *forced* to rank the novels of Richard Yates, I would probably place A Good School at the bottom of my list.
A Good School is one of Yates’s later novels and considered the most autobiographical. While his earlier novels focused on the anxieties of modern suburban life, A Good School examines the awkwardness and pain of teenage boy, William Grove.
William is trying desperately to fit into his new boarding school, Dorset Academy. Located in leafy Connecticut, Dorset appears to be a ‘good school’, however it lacks history, prestige and is on the brink of financial collapse –
Dorset Academy had a wide reputation for accepting boys who, for any number of reasons, no other school would touch. Continue reading
I did away with ‘top tens’ a few years ago, and instead I finish the reading year with a recap of the books that are still speaking to me (less about four and five-star ratings, more about what has stuck). Continue reading
Sure, I might squeeze in another couple of books before midnight on December 31, 2018 but I think I can safely draw a line under the reading challenges for the year.
I participated in six challenges this year – finished four; one is ongoing; and I failed one – not miserably but I didn’t complete the target number of books. Continue reading
Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It is a tough act to follow on the short-story front but nonetheless, I figured Jeffrey Eugenides’s first collection, Fresh Complaint, would be a reasonable bet.
The collection opens with Complainers, a gentle story about the decades-long friendship between two women, and how their relationship changes when one is diagnosed with dementia. I feel like I’m reading about dementia at every turn at the moment, but Eugenides’s take on it from the perspective of a friend was refreshingly different.
Dementia isn’t a nice word. It sounds violent, invasive, like having a demon scooping out pieces of your brain which in fact is just what it is. Continue reading
A conversation overheard in 1975…
Richard Yates: I usually write about men but I’m thinking I’ll do something about a miserable woman…
Anita Brookner: Well Dick, one knows that there’s plenty of material when it comes to miserable women.
RY: And so many tempting themes around misery…
AB (laughing): Misery loves company!
RY: Loneliness, bitterness, regret, jealousy…
AB: Yes, the truly miserable woman has it all. Continue reading
Five things I thought while listening to A Family Romance by Anita Brookner:
01. I can rely on Brookner for the sort of consistency that I love in Yates or Taylor.
02. So, so glad that there’s a bunch of Brookner on my library’s BorrowBox list and that it’s narrated by Fiona Shaw (whose voice has just enough plum to provide deeply satisfying listening). Continue reading
A line jumped out halfway through Richard Yates’s penultimate novel, Young Hearts Crying –
‘…but there was a persuasive tone of sadness all through the story and a well-earned sense of impending tragedy toward the end.’
And it was as if Yates had written a review of his own book. Continue reading
I feel like Elizabeth Taylor gets overlooked.
I don’t mean this Taylor:
This month’s rewind includes my favourite book for 2014 (and possibly for this year as well) – Continue reading
It’s time for #6degrees. It’s unquestionably the least demanding bookish meme on the interwebs, so join in!
This month we begin with Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (thanks to Brona for the suggestion). My first link is to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run. That might seem an unlikely link but I’ve seen Springsteen twice in the last few years, and both times Hanging Rock was the backdrop. Continue reading