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This title in other editions

A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates

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A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. Classic novels such as Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the American middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, desperate career-girls and fearful boys and soldiers, Yates's America was a panorama of high living, self-doubt and self-deception. And in the tradition of other great realistic writers of his time (Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Cheever and Updike), Yates's fictional world mirrored his own. A manic-depressive alcoholic and unapologetic gentleman, his life was a hornets' nest of childhood ghosts, the horrors of war, money woes, and ebullient cocktailed evenings in New York, Hollywood, and the Riviera.

A Tragic Honesty is a masterful evocation of a man who in many ways embodied the struggles of the Great American Writer in the latter half of the twentieth century. Fame and reward followed by heartbreak and obscurity, Richard Yates here stands for what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devil's bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.

Review:

"At times the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming....Apart from a tendency to throw in disruptive foreshadowing asides, Bailey has done a great job of sorting through the facts of Yates's difficult life, assembling them into a story that mirrors the best of his subject's fiction." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[T]hough he spends many pages quibbling with bad reviews, the biographer doesn't really convey the qualities that make Yates's work so distinctive. And without that mitigating achievement, this author's life, retold at excruciating length, seems merely a sad, sordid waste." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"If you did not love this handsome, terribly sick person in real life, as did so many of us in this good book, you will surely celebrate his gallantry in demanding of himself perfection in at least one part of his awful life, which was the words he put on paper." Kurt Vonnegut

Review:

"Blake Bailey's compelling biography of Richard Yates tells a great, singularly American story about one of the greatest, most singularly American writers who ever lived. A Tragic Honesty is an honest tragedy. It is also a triumph." Mark Winegardner, author of Crooked River Burning

Review:

"A Tragic Honesty makes clear once and for all that Richard Yates was both as hopeful and as tortured as his characters. The resemblance to Fitzgerald is terrifying — the booze and lonely rooms, the frittering away of a major talent. In resurrecting the lost world of this great American writer, Blake Bailey shows the same scrupulousness and unflinching eye as his subject, crafting an utterlying absorbing, horribly sad, and at times pathetically funny biography." Stewart O'Nan, author of Wish You Were Here

Review:

"Bailey plumbs the thematic depths of Yates's stories and novels, using them to demonstrate the various ways in which Yates's art entwined itself with his life....The overabundance of banal detail sometimes makes this book a bit tiring to read, but overall it has all the hallmarks of a definitive biography, especially with its authenticity validated by the Yates family's cooperation." Library Journal

Review:

"Remarkably...A Tragic Honesty...manages to trump the author at his own game....Bailey demonstrates in crushing detail that almost all of Yates's fiction was painstakingly (emphasis on pain) faithful to his own experiences....A Tragic Honesty is admirably thorough." Michael Lowenthal, The Washington Post

Review:

"For admirers of Richard Yates...Bailey's biography will be indispensable. Excellent in itself, it records, with photographic accuracy, where Yates's obsessively autobiographical fiction originated." New York Times

Review:

"As in most biographies, the detail can overwhelm, but Mr. Bailey keeps it all interesting by tracing the myriad threads that connect Yates's life and fiction and by writing highly readable prose that at times shines with well-chosen words." Wall Street Journal

Synopsis:

Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. In Blake Baileys masterful and entertaining biography, Yates himself serves as the fascinating lens into mid-century America, a world of would-be artists, depressed housewives, addled businessmen, high living, wistful striving, and self-deception. The story of Richard Yates here stands as a singular reminder of what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devils bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.

About the Author

Blake Bailey is the author of a previous book, The Sixties, and has written for a number of magazines, newspapers, and scholarly publications. He lives in Waldo, Florida, with his wife Mary.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue 1
Ch. 1 The Caliche Road: 1926-1939 7
Ch. 2 A Good School: 1939-1944 37
Ch. 3 The Canal: 1944-1947 75
Ch. 4 Liars in Love: 1947-1951 96
Ch. 5 The Getaway: 1951-1953 118
Ch. 6 A Cry of Prisoners: 1953-1959 159
Ch. 7 A Glutton for Punishment: 1959-1961 195
Ch. 8 The World on Fire: 1961-1962 238
Ch. 9 Uncertain Times: 1962-1964 286
Ch. 10 A New Yorker Discovers the Middle West: 1964-1966 321
Ch. 11 A Natural Girl: 1966-1968 364
Ch. 12 A Special Providence: 1968-1969 382
Ch. 13 Fun with a Stranger: 1970-1974 401
Ch. 14 Disturbing the Peace: 1974-1976 433
Ch. 15 Out with the Old: 1976-1978 463
Ch. 16 Young Hearts Crying: 1979-1984 492
Ch. 17 No Pain Whatsoever: 1985-1988 542
Ch. 18 A Cheer for Realized Men: 1988-1992 560
Epilogue 605
Notes 615
Index 651

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312423759
Author:
Bailey, Blake
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20040531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes one 16-page black-and-white pho
Pages:
688
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.49 x 1.24 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 688 pages Picador USA - English 9780312423759 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "At times the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming....Apart from a tendency to throw in disruptive foreshadowing asides, Bailey has done a great job of sorting through the facts of Yates's difficult life, assembling them into a story that mirrors the best of his subject's fiction." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "[T]hough he spends many pages quibbling with bad reviews, the biographer doesn't really convey the qualities that make Yates's work so distinctive. And without that mitigating achievement, this author's life, retold at excruciating length, seems merely a sad, sordid waste."
"Review" by , "If you did not love this handsome, terribly sick person in real life, as did so many of us in this good book, you will surely celebrate his gallantry in demanding of himself perfection in at least one part of his awful life, which was the words he put on paper."
"Review" by , "Blake Bailey's compelling biography of Richard Yates tells a great, singularly American story about one of the greatest, most singularly American writers who ever lived. A Tragic Honesty is an honest tragedy. It is also a triumph."
"Review" by , "A Tragic Honesty makes clear once and for all that Richard Yates was both as hopeful and as tortured as his characters. The resemblance to Fitzgerald is terrifying — the booze and lonely rooms, the frittering away of a major talent. In resurrecting the lost world of this great American writer, Blake Bailey shows the same scrupulousness and unflinching eye as his subject, crafting an utterlying absorbing, horribly sad, and at times pathetically funny biography."
"Review" by , "Bailey plumbs the thematic depths of Yates's stories and novels, using them to demonstrate the various ways in which Yates's art entwined itself with his life....The overabundance of banal detail sometimes makes this book a bit tiring to read, but overall it has all the hallmarks of a definitive biography, especially with its authenticity validated by the Yates family's cooperation."
"Review" by , "Remarkably...A Tragic Honesty...manages to trump the author at his own game....Bailey demonstrates in crushing detail that almost all of Yates's fiction was painstakingly (emphasis on pain) faithful to his own experiences....A Tragic Honesty is admirably thorough."
"Review" by , "For admirers of Richard Yates...Bailey's biography will be indispensable. Excellent in itself, it records, with photographic accuracy, where Yates's obsessively autobiographical fiction originated."
"Review" by , "As in most biographies, the detail can overwhelm, but Mr. Bailey keeps it all interesting by tracing the myriad threads that connect Yates's life and fiction and by writing highly readable prose that at times shines with well-chosen words."
"Synopsis" by ,
Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. In Blake Baileys masterful and entertaining biography, Yates himself serves as the fascinating lens into mid-century America, a world of would-be artists, depressed housewives, addled businessmen, high living, wistful striving, and self-deception. The story of Richard Yates here stands as a singular reminder of what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devils bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.

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