'As brilliantly nuanced as Updike's Rabbit sequence, and as sad as anything by Fitzgerald' Nick Hornby, Guardian
This is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple whose empty suburban life is held together by the dream that greatness is only just round the corner.
With heart-breaking compassion and clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their hopes and ideals, betraying in the end not only each other, but their own best selves.
Yates's debut 1961 novel revealed a growing and present malaise about middle-class existence as seen through the eyes of protagonists Frank and April. Believing themselves a cut above the rest of their neighbors and friends, the two set their sights upon a scheme to move to France and live a nontraditional life. However, much like the illusion of the white picket fence home, their dreams are not enough to stave off the reality of their unhappy life. Mark Bramhall sways back and forth between successful and annoying narration. Some character voices are caricatures, grating on the listeners' ears without much justification from the text. For others, the chosen voice helps to emphasize the sense (or source) of alienation that Frank and April feel about the people in their lives. However, Bramhall's tone does wonders for eliciting the ironic throughout Yates's prose. A Vintage paperback.