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Young Hearts Crying (Vintage Classics)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  945 ratings  ·  103 reviews

Young, newly married and intensely ambitious, Michael Davenport is trying to make a living as a writer. His adoring wife, Lucy, has a private fortune that he won't touch in case it compromises his art. She in turn is never quite certain of what is expected of her. All she knows is that everyone else seems, somehow, happier.



In this magnificent novel, at once bitterly sad a

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Kindle Edition, 434 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1986)
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Sasha Martinez
Dear Richard Yates,

I made sure to finish reading your novel Young Hearts Crying in time for your birthday. It’s now the February 3, and dude, if you were alive, you’d have been 84. 84, man, ain’t that swell? Anyway. Happy happy happy birthday to you. I hope you’re having a grand ol’ time wherever you are. You deserve it. I mean, you kinda had a sad life, and there was that terrifying period when no one was stocking your books, although no one could deny what a kick-ass writer you were—only unkno
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Bojan Gacic
''Young Hearst Crying'' doesn't have one of Yates' most recurring motifs- that of a destructive wife and mother endeavoring to transcend her own mediocre life- yet it exhibits the figure of a home-to-work-commuting husband and father, one whose manhood's been taking a nosedive since the mid-40s.

The moment they are married Michael and Lucy Davenport are faced with two predicaments: his ambition to become a poet and her private fortune he will not touch for fear of compromising his art. Lucy info
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F.R.
Apparently Richard Yates thought that one of his biggest problems as a writer was that his first book – ‘Revolutionary Road’ – was his best book. And certainly the most successful part of ‘Young Hearts Crying’ is the opening hundred or so pages, which closely echo his debut novel. There’s the ambitious couple living in the suburbs, propelled by thoughts of art but falling out of love with each other. The wife even performs in local theatrics. However, when the couple breaks up the novel seems to ...more
Remi Zagari
I think I've found my author. You know, that person whose work you are more and more compelled to read every time you read something else they've written? Even if that work is ultimately depressing or heart-wrenching or terrifying?

'Young Hearts Crying' has been re-issued by Vintage Contemporaries with a pile of lousy editing errors (come ON, guys!!) and some stunning cover art direction, and thank heaven for it. I was having trouble finding Yates in used bookstores, and now, because of 'Revoluti
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Jeremy
Young Hearts Crying is a novel about failure and hope, examining the lives of an American couple from painful beginning to painful end. Only 'end' would be an inapt word for a novel that, like Revolutionary Road, doesn't offer a cheerful resolution.

Yates's literary canon is known for underlining the quiet despair of middle-class suburbia that is masked by cheerful conformity. (As a critique of middle-class life, his Revolutionary Road stands above Paula Fox's Desperate Characters in execution, v
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James
Its chief flaw is not in Yates's adoption of a female perspective which, while not quite up to the standards of the perfectperfectperfect Easter Parade, is very well-handled—the horrid lovemaking description on p. 224!—but in the overlong episode involving Lucy's exploits in a New School creative writing class, the po-faced metafictioning of which hearkens back to "Builders", unquestionably the nadir of Yates's career. The usual good stuff is very good indeed: the excruciating party scenes, the ...more
Mike Uva
Reading this book I feel like I might have handed out the "5 stars" too easily to some of the other books on my list. This is one of Richard Yates's last books and much like The Easter Parade and Revolutionary Road it's about ordinary people looking to discover what they are good at, figuring out what to do with their lives and how to be happy. There were a few passages I read last night over and over, and I was reminded how reading a certain book at a certain time can change your life. Totally ...more
Cecily
This starts in the 50s when Michael falls in love with Lucy at university. Michael marries her “without being fully aware of how it had all come about” and is stunned when he discovers how wealthy she is. He is determined to support them as a writer and would rather make ends meet writing for Chain Store Age than be tainted by touching her trust fund. Money is the big issue they can never discuss – that and the fact that neither of them have ever felt they fitted in (as when “fear of seeming to ...more
Bo Abeille
Young Hearts Crying feels like one of those stories about children growing up. The stories usually begin with a cast of characters in elementary school and we watch them grow and change through high school, college and into adulthood. This story portrays our cast beginning in college, in their early 20s, and as they grow into middle-age, we see how each character chooses to change and evolve. The times change around them; some adjust, some resist. Success and failures in relationships, career, a ...more
M
What is with this guy and juvenile, disillusioned suburban couples???

When I read Revolutionary Road I felt I had never in my life encountered so perfect a novel. It was moving, with elegant prose that was never pretentious (a feat few novelists I've read have evinced) and the story was troubling, to be sure, but incredibly moving and deeply felt.
YHC has the gorgeous writing, but little else to redeem it, or its characters. There are too many characters with few distinguishing features who keep r
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Charles Adkinson
A lot of reviews I've read compare this book unfavorably to Revolutionary Road, but having read both I see Young Hearts Crying as at least it's equal. In fact, I might even like it better. This book was split into three main sections, detailing first Michael and Lucy's courtship and marriage, then Lucy's life following their divorce, then Michael's.

I found myself intrigued throughout the first section and wary of where the story would go after that. However, the last two-thirds were too good to
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Jon
Yates' nastiest novel, and all the more appealing to me for that--a sort of spewing-forth of accumulated venom against art, poetry, theater, academe, sex, drugs, men, women, hippies, Bob Dylan, you name it. When Michael Davenport flies to San Francisco to rescue his runaway daughter--thereby proving he isn't a complete bastard--it has somewhat the same impact as Dr. Kennicott driving through the snow to deliver the baby in MAIN STREET. After that the mood changes, becoming a little more nuanced. ...more
just sarah
If it wasn't Yates, I might say it's the same old, same old. This guy though, he could tell virtually the same story over & over and have you turning pages like crazy all the way up to the last every time. I especially liked how he tells the story of one family by alternating between male & female perspectives. Subtle & brilliant approach I think. It's not a Revolutionary Road, but it's definitely worth the read.
Simon A. Smith
Wow. Bad title, amazing read. I can't say it enough... Richard Yates is an unbelievable writer who always gets it right. This is the second or third best book in the Yates collection, imho. Rev Road is his masterpiece, and then you have the short story collection(s) and a very close third is this book. I can't believe it took me this long to read it. If you like realistic dialogue and spot on reactions, emotions and motivations this is for you. If you're an aspiring writer, this'll learn you som ...more
Marcos
This is unquestionably one of those novels that begs to be rediscovered, because it is a book of substance, heartache, and bittersweet all at once. Lucy and Michael Davenport are a suburban couple trying to attain some semblance of the American Dream, which is a central motif that often permeates Mr. Yates' other work. I have not read "Revolutionary Road" and I've seen the Sam Mendes/Kate Winslet film which was very good; and I have read Mr. Yates' "The Collected Short-Stories" which for me were ...more
GL
I love Richard Yates and have been rationing out his books for a few years as I will be gutted once I've read them all. Decided to treat myself and take this one on holiday with me this year. Expected to love it and it didn't disappoint. Richard Yates has such a succinct way of getting his points and the mood across and I think he was an absolutely amazing writer. The story is what I expected as it covers very similar themes and feelings to his other books, but that's part of the charm. Brillian ...more
John
This book was so awful it doesn't deserve a long tirade explaining its failures. There were no "icebergs" or understatements between the vapid interactions of the two monotonous, utterly annoying characters. Simply put, avoid this book at all costs. I left it on a bookshelf in a hostal somewhere and will have to live with the thought that it may sentence another reader to hours of boredom and frustration.
Asha
Hugely enjoyable. I'm already well-acquainted with Richard Yates' work and this one didn't let me down. If you like books that don't try to tell you that life is great then you'll enjoy Yates.

Young Hearts Crying is essentially about peoples' inability to be satisfied with life. It follows two people from their early tenties to their early fifties. Inevitably they start off with high hopes for achieving some deeply satisfying 'thing' in their lives, whether through art or the friends they allow i
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Ash
I heard recently that Elaine's father on Seinfeld was supposed to be a caricature of Richard Yates. When I try and imagine Yates, the man, and then I think of this amusing Seinfeld anecdote, it really makes me chuckle (Really? Yates? A dried up old WASP among the likes of Kramer and Costanza? Ha!). Moody writers are certainly an easy sort to portray, whether it be on TV shows or in feature films--the stereotype in our popular culture has pretty much been exhausted.

Who am I to defend a writer lik
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Toni
Who wouldn't love this masterpiece? I savored every word, even the hurtful anti-feminist parts which pierce our deep rooted culture problems. To make up for it, Yates uplifted me with the strength and talent of his female characters. When I finished this book I went online to find any information if Matthew Weiner credited Yates for lifting MM plots directly from this book, not just from "Revolutionary Road". I could only find the quote saying he never read RR until after he wrote MM and only th ...more
Clara
A few years ago, after being electrified by Revolutionary Road, and proceeding to rave about it to everyone I knew, a colleague told me (warned me?) that that, Yates' first novel, is "positively cheery" compared to his other works. Though he was wrong in his estimation (Revolutionary Road is every bit as depressing!), there is no hiding the pervading sense of desolation that seeps through each story that Yates tells.

The recurring theme of futile dreams, shattered expectations and the loneliness
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Nancy
Another good one from Richard Yates. The story has similarities to Revolutionary Road. The book is about Michael and Lucy Davenport. It follows them through their courtship, marriage and divorce. In this book, to me, Lucy is the more sympathetic character. While even in his 50's Michael struggles with his insecurities, about his writing, his new marriage, his friends and "getting laid", by the end, Lucy seems to have matured.

I think Yates captures life in the 50's and beyond well. In particular,
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Laura
Every few years I go on a little Yates or Cheever bender. This is my second reading of "Young Hearts Crying" and I liked it better the second time around, kind of like stew on the second day, it was more flavorful. This is a typical Yates book with people striving and yearning for a life they just don't seem to quite obtain. Michael Davenport comes home from the war and attends Harvard on the GI bill. He marries a girl with money but vows to never touch it. They set out with youthful idealism be ...more
Alex Roberts
After a brisk, compelling Part One where characters and story line are laid out, Parts Two and Three become rather burdensome. The author's voice as the female lead in the middle portion is unconvincing, and the male protagonist, the subject of the concluding section, is problematic not solely for being an unappealing bore with serious class issues (that might have made fine reading matter), but for neither evolving nor suggesting much inner life (he's supposed to be a poet) beyond wanting to ch ...more
Victoria


Richard Yates may have said his first novel, Revolutionary Rd, was his best and that everything went downhill after that however I don't think his other works are inferior versions of this. They are still incredible examples of writing and dissections of human relationships.
This novel begins on the same way as Revolutionary Rd: a young couple with bright hopes for their future and for one another slowly become disillusioned with the world and each other as their dreams turn out to be made of s
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Lulu
I am interested in why so many people said that parts two and three of the book fall flat. To me, the book does not really begin until parts two and three. One is just the backdrop.

I suppose the book is rather gloomy, but that's Yates for you. Young Hearts Crying clearly portrays that in the end "Everybody's essentially alone." The Boston Globe praised Yates for his penchant for dialogue. I think his true feat is his ability to produce startlingly accurate inner dialogue.

I also think that the
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Miguel Alcázar
Para los novelistas, los poetas, los críticos literarios, los directores de suplementos culturales, los blogueros a los que nadie lee, los filólogos, los jóvenes que flipan con Tolkien, los editores con casa en Pedralbes, los jóvenes que flipan con David Foster Wallace, los cuentistas latinoaméricanos...

Pero también para los envidiosos, los mediocres, los que solo han escrito un par de poemas en su vida y se van llamando a sí mismos "escritores" en los bares, los copiotas, los salidos, los borra
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Sarah Wallace
Like a lot of people who have read and reviewed this book, I absolutely loved Revolutionary Road and was looking forward to more of the same. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one same sad little vignette after another which would possibly stand alone as short stories but amount to nothing much as a novel. The opening set-up is classic Richard Yates material, drawing the reader in to a superficially comfortable, middle class life which you just know is going to start inexorably and deliciously ...more
Brett
I think I knew too much about this period of Yates' life before I read the book...how much he was struggling with his alcohol issues and emotional issues. The story spans a lot of years post WWII and has essentially dual protagonists and tells of their lives in a crowd of artistic people in exile from New York in rural Putnam County NY. Much of the book autobiographical in nature. The problem I had with it was the crassness of the male characters and what douchebags they all were, just first-rat ...more
Amy Gonzalez
What I love most about Richard Yate's work is how he so honestly portrays people, and this novel is no different. The two main characters, Michael and Lucy, marry young without really knowing each other. On the day of their wedding, after their ceremony, Michael learns that Lucy is a millionaire heiress. Both wish to create art in one form or another, but Michael feels like he cannot create real poetry or plays if he is living comfortably off his wife's money. He asks her to pretend they have no ...more
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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
More about Richard Yates...
Revolutionary Road The Easter Parade The Collected Stories Eleven Kinds of Loneliness Disturbing the Peace

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“Know what we did, Lucy? You and me? We spent our whole lives yearning. Isn't that the God damndest thing?” 20 likes
“Acting might bring on emotional exhaustion, but writing tired your brains out. Writing led to depression and insomnia and walking around all day with a haggard look.” 3 likes
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