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Revolutionary Road  By  cover art

Revolutionary Road

By: Richard Yates
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
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Publisher's Summary

From the moment of its publication in 1961, this masterpiece of realistic fiction was hailed as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's 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 novel's lasting influence and enduring power.
©2000 Richard Yates (P)2008 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Great Gatsby of my time...one of the best books by a member of my generation." (Kurt Vonnegut)
"Beautifully crafted...a remarkable and deeply troubling book." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." (William Styron)

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What listeners say about Revolutionary Road

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    3 out of 5 stars

Movie vs Book

Any additional comments?

This is the perfect example for me of the importance of reading the book before I see the movie. I think if I had read the book first many subtle but important points missed in the movie would have made the story much better. The movie stressed odd scenes and omitted powerful details that developed the characters and their predicaments to a tee. Plus the way a reader pictures the settings and the people never seems remotely the way a casting team will set things up. That said--I liked the book. It depicted a slice of life from that odd time period of the 50's beautifully. It is a sad book but the characters are fully human and the story engages throughout.

40 people found this helpful

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Soul-crushing...but in a good way!

Yeah, yeah Kate and Leo reunited on the big screen for the adaptation of Revolutionary Road, and while I enjoyed the movie, please don’t let it put you off or replace your reading of Richard Yates’ tremendous novel. Sure it’s depressing – it’s about realizing your life has become everything you never wanted it to be – but in Yates’ words, in Mark Bramhall’s narration, this is a powerful depressing: the kind of thought-provoking, heart-wrenching literature that we all need every once in a while.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very engaging and brilliantly written

Yates is a beautiful writer--descriptive in a way that deeply involves the reader. One of the things I appreciated most about this book, a runner-up for the National Book award in 1962, is the accuracy with which he represents the 1950s, everything from work cublicles, the dawning age of computers, suburban life, the rise of psychotherapy (and its oppressive authority) and of course the pressure to conform and the difficulty of taking a different path (a "revolutionary road"). A major theme of this book, which I think is surprising for its era, is the nature of masculinity and its perils--how very hard it was to be a "real" man in the 50s. Yates has great skill at using metaphor and does a wonderful job with character development. This book is also beautifully narrated. Not only is the narrator's voice a pleasure to listen to, but his representation of each character very talented. Yates's depiction of the 50s gives great insight about why the 1960s became "revolutionary."

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Haunting!

These characters are so fragile and damaged. It was painful at times.....so close to home! This 1960's "perfect" suburbia family crumbles right before your eyes. Each one is as "dysfuntional" as the other. I didn't like the ending but sadly it is very real and believable.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Literary Tour de Force

This is a poignant, intense novel. Yates's characterizations are spot-on and his prose immaculate.
He tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple who long to be special but who are trapped in the conventions of their middle class, middle of the road and mediocre marital existence.
Yates has created a harsh but perceptive criticism of the superficial American society of the time that rings true to the present day. The narrator does a fine job with the clearly distinguishable voices.
This is certainly not a light listen but it is a devastating one that you shouldn't miss.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

pinpoint view of post WW suburbian couple

I think the comparisons to DeLillo do Yates a disservice. Yates is far more coherent.

Revolutionary Road is a well written book about the evidently soul crushing nature of life in the suburbs (as if being the barely employable, non-French speaking, ugly Americans in Paris -- which was the plan -- wouldn't also be soul crushing). Nothing new about the topic.

It's interesting, however, to so acutely experience the world view of the 40's and 50's (the least of which is April's smoking and drinking throughout her pregnancy and the practice of self abortion). Some aspects are the same as ever; the petty manipulations of dysfunctional couples and their susceptibility to such manipulations .

In Yates' omniscient view, each person's motivations are painfully apparent. Where the women are concerned, I couldn't help but think of the everlastingly horrible work of misogyny, "Fascinating Womanhood". Each of the women are different caricatures of mid-50's femininity. In defense of April and Frank, it's interesting to see how important emotional honesty is to them.

While excellent reading, this isn't a place I want to visit again. In fact, I'm going to floss my brain with some science fiction for a while...

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

This novel is a masterpiece. The writing, the characters, the plot . . . everything. Is it heavy? Yes, it's very heavy. Is it depressing? Is tragedy depressing? Get ready for a good old fashioned catharsis! In parts it's funny and moving as well as serving as a stinging, unflinching criticism of American culture. The prose at points approaches poetry. The narrator is excellent. It takes place in the 50s but it hasn't lost anything in timeliness. The issues confronted are equally relevant today, perhaps more so. You won't be sorry if you give this a go.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating Book

This is the story of a couple, tragically trapped in their facade of being 'perfect'. The time is the early 1960's and the 'traditional' values of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman are still held over from the 50's.

They are pent up and repressed. Once they are able to see what is truly happening in their lives, things explode. Ironically, it is a man who is mentally ill who is able to make the most telling and accurate observations of what is occurring interpersonally.

This is a captivating audiobook and it is very well narrated.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

WOW! What a ride!!

I hated this book for the first three hours or so---very upsetting marital fighting! But once it takes off, this is quite a study of two people and their lives in the 50s. I finished this book a week ago and still thinking of April and Frank! I want to see the movie now and see how it compares.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow

Yates was doing suburban malaise decades before people were talking about the latest Mad Men episode (not to bash Mad Men... love that, too). His characters and dialogue are sharp and drip with subtext.
Excellent book and reader.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sof
  • 02-15-18

Thought provoking on ordinary life

Was recommended this by my daughter studying it for A level. So great to share a good book and share thoughts from different perspectives on the characters. I'm much more forgiving of the Wheelers because to me imperfection is normal and natural. It's still as current today as it must have been back then, though there are now more ways to avoid working efficiently and make illicit friendships.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diana Judd
  • 04-24-17

Brilliant finishing

It took a while to get going but stick with it as the plot gets better and then it's a case of not wanting to stop listening!

1 person found this helpful

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  • John
  • 12-19-14

Absolute Must!

Undoubtedly the most underrated writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

The minute observations Yates presents in this novel are devastating and honest. A timeless tale.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jane @The Owl Pen
  • 05-23-13

Unending road

I hated this. It maybe an accurate social critique of post-war middle class America, but if so, how depressing. It was harder to listen to than read, because of the harsh voice of the reader - again, maybe realistic but unpleasant. In the end I gave up, and will be returning it, hopefully for something more enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 01-10-09

Nightmare in a town with no Air Conditioning

The forthcoming film adaptation by Sam Mendes starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Leonardo DiCaprio seemed an intriguing substantial follow up to his earlier American Beauty ? so a good starting off point to read the book before seeing the film. The previously unknown Richard Yates is a welcome addition to the cannon of American baby boom angst-generation. This territory has in recent years has been wrestled from the New Yorker writers and East Coast sensitivities of John Updike to become almost the domain of the TV writer and slightly off the wall film makers ? like David Lynch, who relocated the action to the West Coast - or the late Southern Gothics like Tracey Letts who gave us a freaked-out speed-addled version of Tennessee Williams.

Here the action is plainly suburban, Connecticut compliance and Eisenhower domesticity ? and the great escape of this 1950s world is a relocatoin to post war Paris.

There are so many contemporary parallels and yet it seems a different world. The male-bonded corporate boys club in which Frank Wheeler is ensconced just about still exists in our Finance sector. We are now just about ten years too late to see it in the American Corporations who have now outsourced their bonhomie and business lunches ? but it was there and Yates? un-air conditioned mid-town lunch with Bart Pollack is as close as contemporary fiction gets.

April Wheeler?s 1950s housewife is now a dream ? but all the more powerful in our popular contemporary property, cookery, celebrity driven representations and probably more real than ever. But the inter-dependence of the married couple has now gone and we have become atomised beyond consideration of the single young man ? John Givings ? who provides the touchstone of this novel.

Our relationships are what define us and good writing is what defines a good novel. Yates? observations are accurate, there is insight and terror in what he sees and, yes, this is a great book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Grace Benjamin
  • 02-20-22

The film is better

The narrator was good. The story is interesting. Quite depressing about the unhappy married couple. I prefer the film as the acting was brilliant.

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  • Squellewelle
  • 07-13-21

Beautiful and sad

A beautiful and fascinating story about the toll of conformity in suburbia, dishonesty and lack of self knowledge. Read very well, without any unnecessary flourishes that detract from the text

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  • B.P.S
  • 04-22-20

An intolerably dense novel made bearable by audibl

This novel is criminally overwritten and bland but the narration and performance made it a somewhat enjoyable experience. A book I would never choose to read (MA reading list) so thank the lord for audible coming to the rescue.

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  • Caterina
  • 04-19-20

Haunting.

Loved the story and the descriptions were potent but not too long. Time for my next classic literature choice.

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  • Anna G
  • 10-24-18

Great narration, great book!

Really enjoyed this book. If you’re interested in 1950s America and the struggles with forced conformity and suburbia of the time, then I’d recommend reading this. Thought that the reader did a great job of getting the emotion out.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-20

Good

Really Let you stop and think
A great masterpiece
And the movie was good too

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-17

Best Reader ever!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I was hesitant to listen to an audiobook because I knew it would be annoying if the reader intoned things differently than I would have in my head. How lucky I was to find a book read by Mark Bramhall! He is one of the best readers I've heard in my life, probably THE best American reader! In fact his reading reminded me very much of the way my father would read books when I was a child. He is so skilled that you can actually hear the smallest punctuation marks in his voice- little things like parentheses, dashes, and quotation marks! Such a joy to listen to, I wish I could give him more than five stars!