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abookaweek 2012: week five

2012 February 5

The Collected Stories, by Richard Yates

Category: Short stories

Story: This book brings together stories that were published in Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love, as well as several previously unpublished stories. Almost without an exception, each of these stories features one of the following: struggling writers, tuberculosis, the army, siblings, and cheating husbands and wives.

Opinion: I find it hard to say anything meaningful about Yates, because anything I do say will never live up to what this man has written. If you’ve read Revolutionary Road (and if you haven’t, you should be right now) you know what’s in store for you: sadness, stories that betray your sense of hope, characters who will break your heart.

From my plot description you probably get the impression that the settings and characters are repetitive, but that’s where the magic lies. Even though several stories take place in a TB ward full of sick men, they all paint a different picture. The only thing they have in common is how incredibly depressing they are, and when a book can evoke that much emotion, it’s golden.

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