Yates is a beautiful writer--descriptive in a way that deeply involves the reader. One of the things I appreciated most about this book, a runner-up for the National Book award in 1962, is the accuracy with which he represents the 1950s, everything from work cublicles, the dawning age of computers, suburban life, the rise of psychotherapy (and its oppressive authority) and of course the pressure to conform and the difficulty of taking a different path (a "revolutionary road"). A major theme of this book, which I think is surprising for its era, is the nature of masculinity and its perils--how very hard it was to be a "real" man in the 50s. Yates has great skill at using metaphor and does a wonderful job with character development. This book is also beautifully narrated. Not only is the narrator's voice a pleasure to listen to, but his representation of each character very talented. Yates's depiction of the 50s gives great insight about why the 1960s became "revolutionary."
While this recording is an unabridged version of "The Gin Palace", the book of this title is a horribly abridged version of Zola's original L'Assommoir, or more recently translated as "The Drinking Den". What a disappointment!! Huge chunks of the original version are left out. Characters appear without having been introduced. References to historical events and context are eliminated. Sentences and paragraphs are collapsed in translation from the French. This is NOT Emile Zola. If only the original version could be recorded, it would be well worth the listen.
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