“In the beginnning, I made the Wheelers sort of nice young folks with whom any careless reader could identify. Everything they said was exactly what they meant, and they talked very earnestly together even when they were quarreling, like people in some Sloan Wilson novel. It took me a long time to figure out what a mistake that was – that the best way to handle it was to have them nearly always miss each other’s points, to have them talk around and through and at each other. There’s a great deal of dialogue between them in the finished book, both when they’re affectionate and when they’re fighting, but there’s almost no communication.” “There’s plenty of myself in that book – every character in the book was partially based on myself, or on some aspect of myself, or on people I knew or composites of people I knew, but each of them was very carefully put through a kind of fictional prism, so that in the finished book I like to think the reader can’t really find the author anywhere – or, to put the same thing another way – he can find the author everywhere.” “I still think Revolutionary Road ought to be famous. I was sore as hell when it first went out of print, and when Norman Podhoretz made a very small reference to it in his book several years ago as an “unfairly neglected novel,” I wanted every reader in America to stand up and cheer. But of course deep down I know that kind of thinking is nonsense. After all, it did quite well for a first novel, much better than average: it got generally good reviews, got nominated for the National Book Award, later sold a great many copies in paperback and was widely translated and published abroad.”
Richard Yates on his novel “Revolutionary Road”
“Revolutionary Road” opens in theaters December 26th, 2008.