Young Hearts Crying | Richard Yates

From now on, also known as Young Hearts Crying: The Tragedy! 

Michael Davenport may have been skeptical, but mostly he was boorish, egotistical and completely unable to learn from his mistakes. There was a Hamlet-esque quality to his self-absorbtion and madness. It was extremely painful to watch.

He was jealous and judgemental and oh so childish. He hated all that ‘psychiatry’, but I would have loved some info about his childhood to try and work our why it was that he never grew up. (The best I could work out was a childhood influence by the Depression and a failure to bond with his never-mentioned parents.)

He never understood that very basic premise of love and friendship. You have to be a good friend and lover in the first place if you want to maintain a healthy long-lasting relationship. Michael seemed incapable of being good to anyone, least of all himself.

Lucy Davenport was just lost. One of her generations many lost souls. She lacked purpose and kept trying to find her happiness in other people and things like acting, writing, painting and self-help guru’s.

Yates has written a heart-breakingly sad tale of these times. Complete with lack of connection, loss of moral compass and the fruitless search for fame and glory. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the mood Yates was able to create, but I think I need to read something less melancholy and more joyous next time!

Michael Davenport, a minor poet, is an intensely ambitious young man – just old enough to have served in the US Air Force at the tail end of World War Two. Every failure he suffers in his efforts to become established as a professional writer weighs against the uneasy knowledge that his wife, Lucy, has an untapped private fortune amounting to millions of dollars.

Lucy, for her part, always elegant but often shy, is never quite certain what is expected of her. And as a couple, the Davenports are repeatedly dismayed at meeting other people whose lives appear brighter and better than their own.

In this magnificent novel, at once bitterly sad and achingly funny, Richard Yates again shows himself to be the supreme, tenderly ironic chronicler of the ‘American Dream’ and its casualties.

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