Can I just run a poll on how many people have actually read Richard Yates? He's an author that my friend Missy have recommended to me more than once. But part of his appeal is the bleakness of his prose. In his fiction, there are sad people, living sad lives. They dream, only to realise they have been lied to all their lives: that there never was this thing known as The American Dream.
I admit -- it sounds so depressing I have avoided it for a long, long time.
The Guardian visits the works of this American writer. They describe his works as such:
'My characters all rush around trying to do their best, trying to live well within their known and unknown limitations,' Yates explains. 'Doing what they can't help doing, ultimately and inevitably failing because they can't help being the people they are.' This tragic sense is what singles him out from a legion of lesser contemporary chroniclers of failed middle-class lives. 'He sees how valiantly people try, how they struggle with their own mediocrity,' says Hare. 'They're half-good, half-gifted, and it isn't enough against the immense forces of luck and circumstance.'
If we're doing Outmoded Author Challenge: Round 2, Richard Yates seems like someone to add to the list.
Or, Outmoded Author Challenge 2: The American Edition.