February 3, 2009
"And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank, they just get better at lying." - April Wheeler on why people work in jobs they hate and live in boring towns, and the reason why I don't have a job anymore, and I'm about to sell everything I own that doesn't fit in a suitcase.
Revolutionary Road is one of my alltime favourite books. I read about it when I first moved to Australia - news of Sam Mendes film remake had just been released, and the Sun Herald ran a feature about this little-known, cult book. It's not often I hunt down a novel, and it took six months - it was nowhere to be found in second hand stores, and I get antsy about ordering in books in bookstores. Too much commitment, not enough instant gratification.
Then, Christa de Souza wrote about it in the November issue of UK Vogue. I tried again, haunting bookstores, until finally I found my copy. I devoured it and it was as good as they said. I told the people I love that they had to read it too.
It's not about anything in particular - an unhappy marriage, boredom, apathy, the realisation that you can't do lots of the things you dream of doing when you're 20. That's not new ground. But the way Richard Yates writes elevates these 'everyperson' lives to something else - it's rare that I read a book and think that the author has captured something everyone thinks and cannot fathom - something so simultaneously meaningful and completely mundane - all in a beautiful, calm, honest and unpretentious way.
I saw the film last night - so did Zoe, although not on purpose or knowing that I was, which is kind of spooky, or quite nice. I liked it - it was sparse and washed out, made the mundane beautiful without being contrived. But I like the book better.