Monday, December 08, 2008

Revolutionary Road: A Reputation Redacted

When I heard the news that Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road (A) was finally being fast-tracked into production, I ... well, what did I do? I snickered cynically ("Hardly a book begging for movie treatment, really"), I silently appreciated director Sam Mendes' gutsiness, while I audibly disdained his original attempt at this self-same material; then when he enlisted his wife, I conceded I would probably queue up to see the movie in theatres because I'll happily watch Kate Winslett in anything, even if it co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio. And, finally, I checked my face in the mirror, to try on a, "Let's give this a try," look that I hoped would impress my wife with its manly "let's remain open to all the options" demeanor.

As for the book, am I the only guy who thought it was ... funny (resorting to blurbage: "savagely funny")? Poor April Wheeler comes to a grotty end, but Frank is a truly comic figure who, as James Wood points out, gets exactly what he wants by book's end, and isn't fettered with the self-awareness to acknowledge this as a tragedy. Why, Frank Wheeler is as comic a hero as you're likely to find on this side of Beckett -- or Road Runner, actually. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time I put books down and took the trash to the curb.

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