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Cold Spring Harbor

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  1,562 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
In this classic novel Richard Yates, hailed as a preeminent chronicler of the American condition and author of the acclaimed Revolutionary Road, weaves a masterful, unflinching tale of two families brought together by chance, desperation, and desire.

Evan Shepard was born with good looks, bad luck, and a love for the open ro But it was on one such drive, with his father fr
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 11th 1987 by Delta (first published 1986)
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May 28, 2016 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, american
The stresses and strains of family life in 40's New York are explored here with young couple Evan and Rachel Shepard who after a chance encounter in lower Manhattan are quickly drawn together and married, Evan having a troubled past, failed marriage and daughter already behind him while the quiet and beautiful Rachel is somewhat child-like with her head in the clouds, they seem rather miss matched. With Evan and his folks from the small hamlet of Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, Rachel's mother ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago, I read (and loved) this author’s novel, The Easter Parade. Cold Spring Harbor was Yate’s final novel. Although this one wasn’t as powerful or as memorable as Revolutionary Road or Easter Parade, it still felt familiar and followed the author’s recurring storyline. In this novel, the characters are outsiders striving to belong somewhere. It made me sad for the characters and sad for Richard Yates because, although critically acclaimed by his peers, he was mostly forgotten and out of pr ...more
Hannah  Messler
Aug 04, 2008 Hannah Messler rated it it was amazing
If it is your aim, as it is mine, to read and love everything that Richard Yates ever published, then you will find many things to please you in this fine slim book of trouble, booze & woe. I think this is a good one to read AFTER you've read pretty much everything else, and IF you have decided that you will love Mr. Yates for everything he does no matter what. Coz this one takes a little more work on the reader's part than the other stuff does. He is kind of falling apart by the time he get ...more
João Carlos
May 26, 2015 João Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014
Richard Yates (1926 – 1992) dedica “Perto da Felicidade” (1986) ao amigo e escritor norte-americano Kurt Vonnegut, com quem leccionou, juntamente com Nelson Algren, um curso de escrita criativa na Universidade de Iowa nos anos 60.
Depois do admirável “ O Desfile da Primavera” (5 estrelas) Richard Yates escreve um romance sobre duas “estranhas” famílias – os Shepards e os Drake – numa narrativa centrada na América dos anos 40, num subúrbio da cidade de Nova Iorque, Cold Spring Harbor (título orig
Jan 31, 2011 Pavel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern, american
"When real life is wanting one must create an illusion"
A.Chekhov "Uncle Vanya"

Here is the trap with realistic prose, American realistic prose included: if you dare to portrayt ordinary life as it is, not "to create your own world", you have to be thousands and thousands times more precise, sharp, vivid, carefull and detailed to make your text interesting for the readers, make it distinctive in a way and at the same time accumlating experiences of its readers, generalize these experiences and at
This treads similar territory to other Richard Yates novels, though it covers a shorter period, in fewer pages, focusing on younger protagonists. As always, more is conveyed by what is unsaid than what is actually uttered (e.g. the awkward driving lesson where nothing was taught and nothing learned).

Evan Shepard is a bit of a loser who gets back on track (slightly) when he gets into cars. Nevertheless, he already has a teenage shotgun wedding, child and divorce behind him when a chance encounte
Natacha Martins
Feb 03, 2011 Natacha Martins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, biblioteca
Perto da Felicidade não é um livro bonito, com personagens felizes e com finais felizes. É sim, um livro depressivo, angustiante, muitas vezes exasperante e triste. Com pessoas que levam vidas miseráveis, frustrantes, deprimidas e sem qualquer esperança de dias melhores. Pessoas que se agarram a qualquer migalha de felicidade e a tentam fazer durar até ao absurdo. É um livro carregado de inércia e de inacção, as pessoas limitam-se a viver o dia-a-dia e a fazer aquilo que é esperado delas. Vivem ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
Life's randomness sets the tone for Cold Spring Harbor. Taking place on Long Island between 1935 and 1942, it is a tale that zeroes in on the very human flaws and foibles of a group of people whose lives seemingly connect by accident.

Charles and Grace Shepard, and their son Evan, are the first characters we meet, and we learn about how Evan has been a worry to his parents, but now is showing signs of improvement. He meets and marries a girl named Mary Donovan, they have a daughter, Kathleen, and
Adam Floridia
Feb 01, 2010 Adam Floridia rated it liked it
Shelves: being-a-human
The first chapter alone establishes the typical Yates characters; in fact, I chuckled as I noticed the main premises of his other novels glossed over. You've got the middle-aged man regretting his past and indulging in unreasonable escape fantasies; there's the invalid wife, subject to nervous breakdowns and alcoholism; and there's the over zealous, idealistic young love followed by the shotgun-wedding, which quickly dissolves into "long and harsh and self-renewing" quarrels (12). So where does ...more
Bo Abeille
Jul 28, 2013 Bo Abeille rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, 2013-novels
There's a certain mortification in love, whether you're falling in love or attempting to keep a weakening love strong, it often carries with it an uncomfortable embarrassment. Infatuation often leads to decisions that, in the midst of a new attraction, seem exciting and brave. Decisions made in hazy dream of romance never see a real future; the mind won't allow it. Everything will change for the better, everything will be perfect, every breath will release as a gasp because love and life have su ...more
Justin Evans
Dec 04, 2013 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The last Yates I read, this was a pleasant surprise. Another reviewer suggested this is one for people to read who already like him, and I can see that. There's got to be some nostalgia going on: the book features all of Yates' (somewhat limited set of) characters. There's the sensitive unpopular adolescent (* 2), the foolish thirty-something man, the liberated but not so happy woman, the unliberated and deathly miserable woman, the bonkers menopausal woman (again, * 2), the slimy man of the wor ...more
Grace Tenkay
Jan 22, 2016 Grace Tenkay rated it really liked it
A high-end soap opera about families in the period between the world wars.
I found it compelling and bleak all at the same time. Some wonderful writing
in this book, however. I will sample more of Richard Yates in the years to come.
Mad Dog
May 01, 2010 Mad Dog rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the previous Yates' books that I read (Rev Road, A Good School, Easter Parade). Where those books kept me going with a story, this book doesn't have much of a 'story arc'. This was more of a 'slice of real life' book than a 'story' book. This book went from vignette to vignette, but didn't really build up much. There were a many dead ends in this story, where interesting subplots went to die. For example the father-daughter relationship might have been interesting, but we basically only ...more
Bob Peru
Jun 16, 2016 Bob Peru rated it really liked it
not among his greatest but the paragraph on page 175 is among his greatest. 3 stars until that brought this short novel to 4 stars.
Dec 06, 2015 Rafa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lo que me gusta son sus descripciones de las relaciones humanas.
Stephen Curran
Nov 13, 2015 Stephen Curran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apparently written when things were falling apart for Richard Yates, his final novel is a slick, compact thing of heartfelt sadness and beauty, absolutely on par with the widely lauded Easter Parade (although not quite as good as Revolutionary Road, but then, not much is). It's a small family saga, centered on an uneasy union between the Shepard family and the Drake family; between the vulnerable and terribly needy Gloria ("a woman dying for love") and the handsome, wayward Evan. The compassion ...more
pierlapo  quimby
Nov 22, 2012 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni
Hai delle commissioni da fare in centro. L'auto si rompe per strada e ti tocca chiedere aiuto. Non siamo nel 2012 e i telefoni cellulari non sono stati ancora inventati, per cui ti fermi davanti al primo portone che incontri e suoni il campanello. Ad aprirti è una signora in veste da camera, non più giovane ma neanche così avanti negli anni, piuttosto piacente. Ti domanda di cosa hai bisogno, sembra una persona per bene. Le spieghi il problema e le chiedi, sempre che non le costi troppo disturbo ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The true realistic novel has all but died in the last 15 years or so...tramped beneath the feet of genre-benders and sitcom-style humorists and satires and wordplay pyrotechnics (all of which have their merits, to be sure, but still)...

Russo still does it...McKinerney does it when he's in the mood to write a decent book...Russell Banks...a lot of short story speciaists...

But Yates did it better than anyone, grim as he is...and he is on every page of those who came after...

This one is remarkably
Sep 28, 2015 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that Richard Yates had dedicated this book to Kurt Vonnegut (who knew they were friends??) and I wasn't disappointed! After reading Revolutionary Road earlier this year, I was desperate to lay my hands on something else by Yates. This one was another gem. More dysfunction in the 'burbs and my big criticism was that I wanted even more! The book was a little too short. I really didn't want it to end...which leads to me think that I'll be seeking out the rest ...more
I've now read 4 out of 7 of Richard Yates' novels and a handful of his short stories, but you don't need to get that far into his work to realise that he has a very narrowly defined set of characters and themes, which it seems are drawn fairly transparently from his own life experiences. This, his last published novel, is no different - it paints a familiar story of alcohol, loneliness, mental illness and tense familial relationships without adding anything particuarly new to what comes before. ...more
My first book by Richard Yates and I wasn't unhappy. I wasn't happy either because that's probably what Yates did not want me to feel after reading this slice-of-life novella about a life in New York in the 1940s, the trials of marriage, the complications of family and finally, the stress of youth during wartime. I loved the writing although it was slow. It is a sort of writing that does not enhance the story but does enrich the picture of it in your mind. The finer details are highlighted, char ...more
Finished Cold Spring Harbor this morning. This slight, multi-voiced novel is the second of Yates' that I have read. It reminds me of Revolutionary Road with similar themes of unhappy suburban life, of men especially unfulfilled, feeling like it is their right to drink excessively, cheat on their wives, and blame the circumstances of timing on the lost opportunities of their careers. In this novel the circumstances include missing out on the action of both World Wars, Charles Shepard, and then Ev ...more
Nov 15, 2010 Karenina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
Un altro mirabile romanzo di questo autore straordinario. I personaggi e le situazioni caratteristici dello scrittore si ritrovano in un’altra storia di ordinaria follia: c’è ancora una volta una madre logorroica e infelice alla ricerca spasmodica di un posto al sole, un padre latitante, un ragazzo alle prese con le insicurezze del crescere, un giovane marito fedifrago con moglie comprensiva e paziente, un militare in pensione con la moglie alcolizzata; questi e altri personaggi si arrabattano t ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-favorite-read
I'm starting to feel a little sad because before long, I'll have read all of Richard Yate's books. A wonderful author who really only became recognized after his death. Fans love his marvelous portrayal of the all American family in the 1940-50s America, exposing their warts and all. With Yates, the reader learns quickly that oftentimes, life and relationships just plain suck, and some people just seem to create their own misery. Cold Spring Harbor, is such a story. It's about unhappy people who ...more
Peter Thornber
May 08, 2013 Peter Thornber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could be described as 'typical' of Richard Yates work. I really enjoy his attention to the detail in describing the emotions, insecurities and interactions of his characters. Each character within this story has 'issues' and is reliant on others both for the validation of their own lives and as a release from their situation. The cast spans gender and generation; presenting the reader with the unique challenges faced by each stage of an 'ordinary' american life.

Whenever I read a Richar
Mar 20, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
A ruthlessly efficient and finely observed portrait of two families whose fates intersect randomly one afternoon. Covers the same thematic ground as Revolutionary Road, The Easter Parade, and many of Yates' short stories, but Cold Spring Harbor, the great author's final novel, feels like a distillation of those other books to something almost pointillist in approach, leaving so much in the white spaces for the reader to fill in. Yates Country can often seem like a bleak and merciless place, but ...more
Nov 28, 2015 Lily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Прочитала я її швидко - бо обсяг маленький і я сподівалася, що от десь тут, за поворотом, почнеться якась дія, шось станеться. Але ні, нічого не ставалося, і коли я дісталася до 95%, зрозуміла, шо мене намахали. Ця книжка може бути певно дуже актуальна для Штатів, але для моєї ментальності це провал. Плюс події в книзі відбуваються на тлі війни, але таке враження, шо вона десь там далеко чи її геть немає. Занурення у сюжет нульове. Плюс як завжди мені бракує атмосфери місця.
Mar 29, 2014 Pauline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yates remains the master of suburban tristesse... In this beautifully written sad little novel the lonely characters are drifting through the semi-idyllic world of Cold Spring Harbor, making the wrong decisions (all over again) and needing a drink before 5 o'clock in the afternoon. The novel slowly builds up to a climax and some Yatesian domestic violence and the last words of Rachel, the child-wife of the protagonist, break your heart. About this novel, Kate Atkinson said "Read and weep". Well, ...more
Manuel Sanz
Nov 07, 2014 Manuel Sanz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trama sencilla,breve y fácil de leer. Dos familias unidas por el matrimonio de sus hijos. Se desarrolla en el verano de 1942.

Novela de personajes, sin apenas descripciones, sin apenas espacios abiertos, los principales diáligos se desarrolla en el interior de las viviendas. Los personajes los conocemos por sus diálogos, su convivencia, su forma de afrontar los problemas, ninguno de los hombres de la novela puede alistarse en el ejercito como es su máxima ilusión.

El autor no necesita elevados a
Jul 24, 2014 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Perto da felicidade” Richard Yates apresenta-nos a vida como um novelo de possibilidades, sonhos e liberdade que ao ser desenrolado, rapidamente se transforma numa amálgama de deceção, desperdício e sonhos desfeitos.
É um livro triste, com personagens carregadas de inércia, que levam vidas deprimidas e se limitam a fazer aquilo que é esperado delas.
Definitivamente, não é um livro bonito, com personagens e finais felizes.
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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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“Dying for love might be pitiable, but it wasn't much different, finally, from any other kind of dying.” 23 likes
“Will you call me?" she asked helplessly. "Will you call me again, Evan?"

"Well of course I will," he said, looking back to smile at her in a way that would soon become habitual: a mixture of pity, fond teasing, and readiness for love.”
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