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Held together with safety pins

Expect many of these biographical pieces on Richard Yates to spring up now that Revolutionary Road has hit the big screen. Having wrote my degree dissertation on him a few years ago I already felt as though I knew this terrible shambles of a man better than I know some of my friends! Hypersensitive, lonely, obsessive, bleak... all are apt descriptors of him, none of which makes for your typical hero! If I met him in the flesh I'd have run a mile in the opposite direction. But there's something self-seeking in the way I, and I suspect many other fans, have studied his life and works, as though trying to seek a way of understanding our own neuroticisms and also, perversely, trying to seek solace in the bleakness of his vision, as though it provides evidence of 'how life really is'; unvarnished - his clear prose style a testament to a life with scant ornamentation. Here's another article on him by Daphne Merkin for Book Forum in which she says he seemed to be 'held together with safety pins'.

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