The Easter Parade
Cover to the first edition
|Publisher||Delacorte Press/S. Lawrence|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||229 (Hardback first edition)|
The Easter Parade is a novel by American writer Richard Yates. First published in 1976, Yates' fifth book explores the tragic lives of two sisters. Along with Revolutionary Road, the book is considered to be Yates' finest work.
The famous opening line of the novel warns of the bleak narrative to follow, "Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents' divorce." Emily and Sarah Grimes are sisters who share little in terms of character but much in terms of disappointment with their lives. Emily, the younger, more intellectual and cosmopolitan of the two, seeks love in numerous disappointing affairs and short-term relationships while Sarah, the prettier and more conventional sister, marries young and bears children to an uncouth and abusive husband.
The novel begins in the 1930s, when the sisters are children, and ends in the 1970s with Sarah's death. It primarily revolves around Emily as the book's central character, though the book employs Yates' characteristic shifts of consciousness throughout. Their troubled, rootless mother "Pookie", like many Yatesian matriarchs, is likely modeled on his own mother, who was nicknamed "Dookie".
As Stewart O'Nan notes, The Easter Parade signaled the resurgence of Richard Yates. A year after the critically panned Disturbing the Peace, critics hailed him as an American master. They spoke now of his body of work and raved over the effortless elegance of his prose and the depth of his tragic vision." The publication of The Easter Parade marked the beginning of a relatively stable and productive period for Yates and the book has been championed by Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry McMurtry and Tao Lin, among others.
References in popular culture
The novel is mentioned in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters: Lee (Barbara Hershey), one of the titular "sisters", thanks her brother-in-law Eliot (Michael Caine) for lending her the book. Lee tells Eliot that she "loved" the book and that he was right because "it had very special meaning" for her.
- O'Nan, Stewart (October–November 1999). "The Lost World of Richard Yates: How the great writer of the Age of Anxiety disappeared from print". Boston Review.
- Fleming, Michael (2005-09-11). "Kaplan seeds Applehead with Barkins". Variety. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
- Ploughshares reviewby Hilma Wolitzer