For REVOLUTIONARY ROAD ONLY:Please, if you haven't seen the film yet (and friends tell me it's all right, if not great) then do yourself a favor and read this book, which I can say unequivocally is bloody brilliant -- agonizing, horrifying, sad as hell; a long silent scream of desperation -- but brilliant.Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a couple living on the ragged edge of seething discontent, set in the Connecticut suburbs of the 1950s. (And if you see the seeds of inspiration for the equally brilliant television show Mad Men, well, I'm with you. I would be fascinated to know how much the writers turned to Yates.) Frank and April Wheeler pride themselves on being intellectually and culturally superior to their neighbors, and plan, in a sort of frenzied escape plan, to relocate to Paris where Frank can "find himself".I am, I must confess, a fan of rather dark literature, and nobody does it like Yates. Unsentimental, razor sharp, and unsparing to the point of cruelty, Yates' work was autobiographical, which makes it all the more poignant, I think. Although an author's work should stand alone, and require the reader to know nothing more than appears on the page, it is undeniable that understanding Yates lived through the drunken suburban malaise about which he writes so evocatively provides an even sharper shadow. I read Blake Bailey's biography of Yates some years ago, and found it touching and sad and illuminating. Yates certainly did not spare himself in his portrayal of male characters - they are every bit as troubled, selfish, immature, inconsiderate and sexually insecure as Yates himself appears to have been. And the author's life was far from glamorous; his living quarters are described in Bailey's book thusly:to read the rest of the review, please visit:In Praise of BooksThanks.