I finally re-read some Richard Yates after years away. Frank and April Wheeler, in their suburban hell, grinning and leering at each other as something above their neighbors, planning to escape to Europe with the 2 kids so Frank could find himself, then pregnancy rears its head again (“You’ve been pregnant 3 times and wanted to abort 2 of them!”), foiling the European plans. Frank is happy about canceling Europe, just as he’s moving up the chain in the Knox Business Machine world (where his dad worked, as a lifer, and whose name Frank didn’t drop while interviewing). Tedium in the cubicles, Frank pretending to work all those years, and getting more done in an afternoon than he has in several months after April says he’s been slaving away. Shep and Milly Campbell, the other suburban couple who participate in the mockery; Shep in love with April, consummated illicitly on the backseat of the car the night when Frank drives Milly home after Shep’s car is blocked in.
It’s Mad Men writ large in literary form, the housewife condemned to psychoanalysis, the cheating husband, the commute into NYC from Connecticut, the triple martini lunches and buxom receptionists. Yates the literary master, each sentence leaving you drooling for more.