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Disturbing the Peace

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,070 ratings  ·  118 reviews

Hailed as “America’s finest realistic novelist” by the Boston Globe, Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road, garnered rare critical acclaim for his bracing, unsentimental portraits of middle-class American life. Disturbing the Peace is no exception. Haunting, troubling, and mesmerizing, it shines a brilliant, unwavering light into the darkest recesses of a man’s psyc
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1984 by Delta (first published 1975)
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Ginny_1807
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mad Dog
Jun 01, 2011 Mad Dog rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yates readers
In this book: Nobody really gives a damn about any one else. Friends really aren't friends. Parents are just interested in their children performing a role. Work is not fulfilling. Psychiatrists can't wait to get rid of their patients. This book depicts a world that is not a good place, especially for a mentally ill person.

This is typical Yates. The theme is dark. There are no heroes. Alcohol abounds. Spirituality is absent. The prose is sparse and economical. The setting is mainly the early '60
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Sandra
Credo che in questo libro Yates raggiunga l’apice della sua inesorabile analisi dell’infelicità umana. Mai ho letto un altro libro che mi abbia creato disagio in ogni pagina come Disturbo della quiete pubblica. Un disagio per l’opera di autodistruzione volutamente realizzata dal protagonista, incapace di reagire al malessere esistenziale che attanaglia ognuno di noi, ma che in John Wilder, pubblicitario di buone capacità, trova facile presa a causa dell’alcoolismo cronico che lo opprime. Ed allo ...more
doug bowman
This novel, by one of my favorite late 20th century writers, is a compellingly realistic story of the downward spiral of an alcoholic. It's power comes from the exacting insights into the mundane existence of the characters trying to survive and thrive in modern society; along a view into the mind of a man making a step-by-step descent into a private hell. As Yates draws you into Wilder's mind, you find yourself,like the main character, unable to see the bottom, until you have made the slow desc ...more
Daniel Jon Kershaw
I know Richard Yates novels are very similar. I know he has posthumously become the poster boy of hipster kid literature, but I don’t care, because he writes so well. I am actually really happy he is ‘back in fashion,' because at the time of his death in the early 90s, his books were out of print.

I didn’t enjoy this title as much as Eleven Kinds of Loneliness or Revolutionary Road, but it was still a great read. I’m sure Yates could turn the act of making a cup of tea into a dark, tense discuss
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Breene
About a week or two ago, the guy I intern for passed down a copy of Yates' 'Revolutionary Road' which absolutely hooked me on Yates' writing. He's incredibly economical and precise while also being almost gymnastic (a term my old man gives for his favorite writers, but I find it fitting here, too). I read "Easter Parade" following "Revolutionary Road" then a few of the short stories from The Collection and now, "Disturbing the Peace."

It's strange to say, since this is a story about the demise o
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Cecily
This covers Yates' familiar (and heavily autobiographical) themes: alcohol, strained relationships, lack of communication, dull job in advertising/media, amateur dramatics, time in the army, depression etc and takes it to new depths: the descent into madness. Yet, as ever, he finds a new slant, so the story is simultaneously fresh and familiar.

It starts fairly dramatically, and follows the subsequent ups and downs of John Wilder's 30s - a compelling read. As well as the usual traumas for a Yates
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Paolo Gianoglio
Freddo, diretto, tagliente. Yates non concede nulla all’illusione, è spietatamente concentrato a raccontare la storia di un uomo che non riesce a trovare soddisfazione in ciò che lo circonda, e tuttavia è così infelice e così poco determinato da non sapere cosa desiderare. Anche i pochi momenti di felicità non sono una vera soddisfazione, il protagonista sembra consapevole di non riuscire a vivere la propria felicità fino in fondo, la follia arriva quasi a sollevarlo dall’obbligo di accettare ch ...more
Mary
Such a beautiful and progressively dark read. We spend 99% of the book inside the protagonist's scattered head descending into a slow and unreal madness. In the final pages we see him as the word sees him. Haunting.
aidan w-m
Sep 15, 2014 aidan w-m added it
Shelves: 2013, collection
yates waits (heh) gatsby-style for a punch to the gut in the third act, but here he forces you to pay attention for the full effect. also, certain key parts of this novel are allegedly autobiographical?
Tajma
This is the only Yates novel that I had to force myself to finish.
Laurel-Rain
In the early 1960s in Manhattan, John Wilder is a man in his mid-thirties with a seemingly successful career and great family life. A wife and son, with everything pointing to a promising life. But after a business trip, John calls his wife and says he is not coming home.

What happens next could be characterized as an abrupt break with reality, but Wilder's week in Bellevue, where he is placed after an episode of "disturbing the peace," can be seen as an inevitable midpoint to something that has
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Mike
Nov 25, 2008 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cynics, unapologetic optimists (because, well, fuck them)
"But at the same time he was mildly relieved: with her out of the place it would be possible to drink at any time of day, even in the morning"

Richard Yates - the long lost original hero and champion of post-war suburban malaise and discontent - follows up his most well known novel, Revolutionary Road, with Disturbing the Peace. Hailed as "America's finest realistic novelist" sums up the narrative of John Wilder, a man so desperately lost in his degenerate and subversive marriage and career (resp
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Christine
In Disturbing the Peace, Yates introduces us to John Wilder, an insecure thirty-something ad executive who, we learn right away, is in the middle of a midlife crisis - think unhappy marriage, job dissatisfaction, personal dissatisfaction, extramarital affairs, and booze -- lots and lots of booze. But, it quickly becomes clear that Wilder's crisis isn't really of the midlife variety. Rather, it's that he is flat out delusional. In other words, the man is mad - mad as insane, mad as addicted. Mad, ...more
André van Dijk
RICHARD YATES OP WEG NAAR HET EINDE

Genadeloos wist Richard Yates in zijn boeken de zelfkant van de Amerikaanse samenleving in beeld te brengen. Niet door de ogen van een buitenstaander maar van binnenuit opgetekend. In het aangrijpende Een geval van ordeverstoring ging hij nog een stap verder.

Het blijft opmerkelijk: je schrijft een handvol prachtige romans maar de wereld wil nauwelijks iets weten van je haarscherpe analyse van de Amerikaanse mens in zijn tragische 'vaart der volkeren'. Het duurt
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Adam Floridia
Of the four Yates novels I’ve read, this one had the most in terms of plot. Conversely, of the four Yates novels I’ve read, this one was the least engaging.
I thought that protagonist John Wilder’s admittance to the psych ward for disturbing the peace happened very quickly (page 16). As proven by Kesey, a psychiatric hospital is a bountiful setting replete with limitless character options. Yates does nothing extraordinary with it. Luckily, Wilder’s stint in the hospital is brief (only 42 pages).
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Gena
This one took me a while to get through. Sure, it started off well enough, I wanted to know why John Wilder wasn't coming home. But then he is committed to Bellevue, and spends the entire book drinking too much in combination with taking anti-psychotics, having a run-on affair deciding to produce a movie based on his stint in Bellevue. He never redeems himself, his wife remains "comfortable", "civilized" and the book winds itself right back to essentially where it began. I don't like the feel or ...more
Doctorwu51
Richard Yates wrote "Revolutionary Road", an excellent novel portraying suburban discontent in the 50's. "Disturbing The Peace" is set in the 60's and features more suburban discontent in the form of a 39 year old advertising salesman who is afflicted with alcoholism and psychosis as he acts out an enormous midlife crisis. I found the former to be a much more satisfying book than the latter; one was great, but I found the other to be somewhat dated and shallow.
Brett
Having read the Yates biography - "A Tragic Honesty" I realize that this particular novel is largely autobiographical, and likely written under a great deal of publisher pressure in an alcoholic fog...needless to say it isn't my favorite Yates novel. It has moments but it more or less reminds me of a 50's detective pulp...it's got that kind of feel to it. What it definitely lacks is that trapped feeling of inevitability and futility that comes across so strong in R.R. and Easter Parade. But I ha ...more
Sarah
California evidently signifies something, the same thing, in mid-century settings. It's Xanadu. It's wild, it's where people go to freak out, hit on younger girls, lose themselves, and utterly lose it. The Last Tycoon. Mad Men. And, unfortunately, Disturbing the Peace. This book started off great. There was enough of a balance between sane and crazy to keep things interesting and to make the main character fascinating. I lost interest in this book somewhere in the last third, and really was over ...more
Steph
Yates's writing is once again perfection, to me. As usual the subject matter is heavy, but utterly human. I feel most at home reading his words and sometimes I can't tell if it's because of what he says or how he says it. Might be both. Sad that I've finished another one of his novels; eventually there won't be another 'first read' left to savor.
Mikki
Never can I remember reading a book by Yates that gave me so much trouble finishing--I had to force myself through it. Many times during its reading, I started and finished other novels in between. Maybe it was the subject matter -- having to slowly witness a man's descent into an alcohol fueled madness.
The book never lets up. Never allows the reader any sense of hope that the protagonist might just veer off from this desolate one-way road and avoid the oncoming collision which we know is just
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Piperitapitta
Difficile vivere ai tempi di John Kennedy, in un'epoca in cui tutto volgeva alla perfezione e all'ottimismo. Doveva essere veramente difficile incarnare e rispettare i canoni dell'americano perfetto, a quei tempi.
Richard Yates, ancora una volta, sceglie di raccontarci l'altra faccia della medaglia del sogno americano: quello dei perdenti, dei falliti, di quelli che in tutti i modi cercano di tendere e di raggiungere a quell'ideale di perfezione umana in una societ�� in cui tutti i sogni possono
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Piperitapitta
Difficile vivere ai tempi di John Kennedy, in un'epoca in cui tutto volgeva alla perfezione e all'ottimismo. Doveva essere veramente difficile incarnare e rispettare i canoni dell'americano perfetto, a quei tempi.
Richard Yates, ancora una volta, sceglie di raccontarci l'altra faccia della medaglia del sogno americano: quello dei perdenti, dei falliti, di quelli che in tutti i modi cercano di tendere e di raggiungere a quell'ideale di perfezione umana in una societ�� in cui tutti i sogni possono
...more
Andrew
A few years ago I read 'Revolutionary Road' and whilst I thought it was brilliant I found it a very sad book compounded by then watching the thoroughly depressing film version. I have however wanted to try Yates again as one of a number of lesser known 20th century American classic writers. This his last book is very good and looking through reviews I am surprised at how negative some are. It is certainly no barrel of laughs in its portrayal of a successful advertising salesman in 1960's New Yor ...more
Brooke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colin N.
In "Disturbing the Peace" John Wilder is a successful advertising executive and living the American middle class dream with a marriage, 10-year-old child, and a thriving business. That is until he returns from a business trip and calls to tell his wife that he cannot come home. This refusal leads John down a spiral that leads to extensive drinking, abuse of prescription medication, and mental illness.

"Disturbing the Peace" is a tragic tale. I was expecting a plot more like "Rabbit Run," in which
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Diane
From the very beginning, even the opening paragraphs of this book,seemed to have a sense of foreboding of bad things to come......

"Everything began to go wrong for Janice Wilder in the late summer of 1960. And the worst part, she always said afterwards, the awful part, was that it seemed to happen without warning.

She was thirty-four and the mother of a ten-year-old son. The fading of her youth didn't bother her--it hadn't been a very carefree or adventurous youth anyway--and if her marriage was
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Jason Hillenburg
I'm an admirer and a true believer in Yates' vision and style. However, Disturbing the Peace doesn't meet my personal standards for an unified, significant novel. There are powerful individual scenes, the opening scenes documenting Wilder's first breakdown for example, and the same direct, unsparing power that distinguished Revolutionary Road lingers here. Unfortunately, there are nearly as many moments of hackneyed melodrama and cliched character types and the odd lack of transitions between sc ...more
adam brown
May 14, 2013 adam brown added it
Recommends it for: any yates fan
richard yates was a true discovery. as was raymond carver. i found out about them both a few months apart, and while the style is so different, the subjects, rawness, and sadness is the same.

i picked up "disturbing the peace" the other night. it's the first time i've come across it, and any time i come across a book of his i haven't read, i know i probably won't see it again for a long time, so i grabbed it. i plan on finishing the last three quarters of the book tonight (i'm reading "the correc
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Richard Yates shone bright upon the publication of his first novel, Revolutionary Road, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. It drew unbridled praise and branded Yates an important, new writer. Kurt Vonnegut claimed that Revolutionary Road was The Great Gatsby of his time. William Styron described it as "A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." Tennessee ...more
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