The Easter Parade

The Easter Parade

A Novel

Book - 1976
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In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates's classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family's past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, c1976
ISBN: 9780440021971
Characteristics: 229 p. ; 22 cm


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Apr 22, 2010

Near the end of this novel, one of the characters sees a haggard, petulant woman's face--a face that is aging badly--and then realizes that she has been looking at herself, caught unaware in the refection of a plate glass window. That little existential scene in many ways encapsulates this novel. What is wonderful about the novel is how smoothly it progresses from childhood to adulthood. I sometimes think back to grade school. All the kids looked basically decent and fresh. Now I look at people in my generation--forty plus years beyond grade school. Those once fresh little kids are aging, with all sorts of physical, mental, and personality flaws. Not just flaws that are cute little eccentricities, but some downright ugly flaws. How did those kids become those adults? It's a rather tragic mystery. In Easter Parade, Yates shows us this. He doesn't explain it--it is a mystery after all--but he shows us.

Imagine Tolstoy telling the story of Ivan Ilyich starting, however, from childhood and coming to the existential vision of human finitude without having to have a crippling injury to bring the tragic vision to consciousness. Also, like Ivan Ilyich, this is a short but powerful story.


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