06 April 2009

The Easter Parade

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of The Easter Parade by Richard Yates through LibaryThing Early Reviewers program. This is not a new book, but it is a good one. Here's my review:

It's all about the writing.

"The Easter Parade" is bleak to the point of almost being without any hope, but I couldn't put it down. I am sure that in the hand's of less-talented writer, this would have been a maudlin story, but in this case Richard Yates has created a beautifully crafted work of art. His characters linger in your heart and mind.

It is a compelling story of two sisters who lives are both stunted and destroyed by false hope, by alcohol and by simple circumstances. Reading it was a strange experience because despite the characters' sad, painful lives and experiences that made me want to turn away, the story was completely engrossing. The concise style moves this relatively short book along rapidly, yet you feel like you've understood every detail of the 40 plus years in these women's lives.

It seems that neither sister was capable of escaping their fate of unhappiness no matter what they tried. From the opening sentence "Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life..." to the last painful moment, there is no relief, but if you look closely it does end with a spec of hope for the future generation. A hope for ending the family legacy of miser. It is a bit like applying a band-aid to a broken leg by the time it appears, but this quiet little upswing leaves you with a lot to think about.

No comments: