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Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
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Eleven Kinds of Loneliness

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,849 ratings  ·  148 reviews
First published in 1962, a year after Revolutionary Road, this sublime collection of stories seems even more powerful today. Out of the lives of Manhattan office workers, a cab driver seeking immortality, frustrated would-be novelists, suburban men and their yearning, neglected women, Richard Yates creates a haunting mosaic of the 1950s, the era when the American dream was ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2008 by Vintage Classics (first published 1962)
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sckenda
Jun 08, 2014 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Needing a Shot of Pessimism
Shelves: short-stories
“And where are the windows? Where does the light come in?” Richard Yates (661)

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast” (p.20)

Richard Yates has a magnificent way with words but nothing magnificent to say about the human condition. "Eleven Kinds of Loneliness" consists of 11 short stories, in the minimalist style of Hemingway, which explore the loneliness of individuals in institutions: the army; the workplace; hosp
...more
Algernon

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again


Books about loneliness are often disturbing, depressing, sad, yet I find myself coming back to their silence and their closely shuttered windows (Hrabal, McCullers, Ebenezer le Page, Tarjei Vesaas, Charles Frazier - to name only a few recent lectures), like a glutton for punishment, as if I didn’t know already all there is to know about loneliness from my own past experiences. It may be because they are in their way more honest than
...more
Fewlas
Se questo libro fosse un film, non sarebbe proprio un film. Sarebbe il primo episodio di “New York Stories”, l’episodio “Lezioni di vero” diretto da Martin Scorsese. Un pittore solo che schizza colori sulla tela a ritmo di “A whiter shade of pale”. Un uomo scontroso e solo in quanto abita perpetuamente la fase dell’innamoramento e della delusione, della ricerca e dell’illusione e della sconfitta. (un assaggio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v_4SJ...)
Se questo libro fosse un fiore, non sarebbe p
...more
Toby
Loneliness is, in many ways, an elusive concept. The sense of ‘self’ implicit in such a concept seems to me to be what Richard Yates seeks to illuminate in “Eleven kinds of Loneliness”. Throughout, Yate’s characters – uniformly ‘average’ or otherwise unwitnessed lives – appear to yearn for company and companionship. However, the lesson they so often learn is that other people are not always the cure for loneliness – they are, more often than not, its cause.
Throughout, a thread of character’s in
...more
Nickie
If I could give this more than 5 stars I would. Or perhaps I should go and mark down all previous books a star to balance out.

Richard Yates is one of those writers who gets people. And he's got heart. He's like yer Updike and yer Roth in his beautiful prose style, and he's funny, but unlike yer Updike and yer Roth he gets women, because he can be bothered. He gets women just like he gets men. Not many can do that.

I want to hug this book up all the time, it's so bloody lovely. Short stories can
...more
Gabriele
Carver, sei tu?
Yates sorprende, immagina personaggi, storie brevi, passa da un mondo all'altro; ci sono tracce di solitudine, persone che appaiono forti e pian piano si disgregano, crollano pagina dopo pagina, si fanno amare e poi ripudiare alla fine di ogni racconto. Undici racconti e Yates non sbaglia una virgola, andiamo dallo "stupendo" al "molto bello", 200-e-passa pagine che scorrono fra emozioni contrastanti, un compendio su come i racconti brevi dovrebbero essere, crudi e diretti pur ne
...more
Alex
Oh, it's Richard Yates alright. I had to take this book in little slices, over a span of a month. Otherwise, I might have committed suicide. Warning: when you see me reading a Yates novel, try not to talk to me afterwards...for at least a few hours. This book is sad, sad, sad...and lonely.

BUT SO GOOD. Honestly, I only enjoyed 4 out of the 11 stories (A Really Good Jazz Piano, A Glutton for Punishment, Out with the Old, Builders), but every story in here has characters that feel like humans, and
...more
Lucrezia
Undici solitudini mi è piaciuto leggermente di più di Revolutionary Road , undici raccontini , ambientati a New york ognuno con la sua visuale... è bello passare da un punto di vista ad un altro sperando sempre in una rivalsa, che Yates puntualmente nega, credo di avere già detto che lo stile di Yates è sublime, ma i suoi personaggi un po' meno, e forse è per questo che non mi prende completamente, ma è bello seguirlo mentre con i volteggi della penna ti mostra tutta la frustrazione dell America ...more
Eric
The cover blurb of my edition calls it midcentury New York's 'Dubliners.' That's not really an overstatement. Yates shares Joyce's deft drawing of fluid movement and reasonant gesture. He can conjure bodies and situations with just one or two sharp details. Delicate domestic realism, sparely styled--for a while now the default mode of American short story writing--has no better exemplar. So elegant!
Lulu
This book or rather, collection of short stories, is superb! This was the third work of Yates that I have read and I think it may be my favorite. Each story was so rich with raw human emotion that I could feel the characters' pain in my stomach. Yates' ability to convey the human condition is uncanny. He is by far the best writer I have ever read. There may be other writers who have written more important or revolutionary works, who have crafted more intricate plots, but I have never encountere ...more
Elena Benvenuti
Danza di frasi non dette, sguardi che non si sono incrociati, abbracci mancati. Fino al crollo.
Max
Yates is true to form depicting people struggling to find their place in a society that is filled with people who are self-absorbed and who seek out and exploit the vulnerable. Yates himself and his relationships are woven into these stories as was the case with Revolutionary Road. The failed marriages, heavy drinking, time in the army, ghost writing and journalistic work are examples. His own life seemed to echo his stories, moving from place to place, never feeling successful. The Independent ...more
Mw Pm
Loneliness, as the title suggests, is present throughout all eleven of the stories in this collection. The author's thematic continuity feels deliberate (though I understand loneliness is present throughout many of his works) and ties the collection together very neatly. I prefer short story collections that have are unified by a theme rather than collections that rely on interconnection (whether it's characters or events). I find these interconnected stories often feel awkwardly forced together ...more
Shirley
An outstanding writer, that Yates. I have to read everything he's written at some point.
Kirstie
Sep 14, 2008 Kirstie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in the human condition, NYC in 1940s
About five years ago, I randomly picked up Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates at Myopic used book store. Something about it caught my eye, which was the quote on the back cover: "The Great Gatsby of my time...One of the best books by a member of my generation."-Kurt Vonnegut. Well, how could I not buy it right? Revolutionary Road is a novel instead of vignettes or short stories but it has some similar themes...about being trapped in the middle of life and Revolutionary Road can easily become a ...more
Thais
Non si tratta soltanto di undici solitudini: si tratta di un'unica, grande solitudine, quella derivante dall'essere umani.
I protagonisti di questi racconti, infatti, non sono tutti soli nel vero senso della parola: nella maggior parte dei casi hanno una famiglia, degli amici o almeno dei colleghi. Ma ognuno di loro, così come ognuno dei personaggi secondari all'interno di ogni racconto, prova una solitudine esistenziale che va molto al di là dell'essere o meno in compagnia.
I protagonisti sono pe
...more
Joanna
Aug 15, 2008 Joanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Richard Yates is now officially my favorite author. His short stories are absolutely blowing me away. I will recommend this to anyone who loves literature. Yates is, I think I can safely say, the best writer I've read.

This book contains some of the best short stories I have ever read. "Doctor Jack-o'-Lantern," "The Best of Everything," "Jody Rolled the Bones," and "Fun With a Stranger" are especially golden. Try to get your hands on this, if only for those stories. He reads humanity with the mo
...more
Kaloyana
Звездичките не са пет, само защото историите са кратки - разкази. И въпреки, че тези са много хубави, аз обичам романите. И ужасно харесвам тези, на Ричард Йейтс. Голям майстор е и толкова искрено и простичко пише за сложните човешки взаимоотношения, живеещи в самота. Онази самота, сред другите. Самотата на надеждите и сложността на ежедневието. Борбата да си разбран и да се докажеш. Според мен Йейтс е пренебрегван в България. Надявам се да бъдат издадени още негови книги. Заслужава си всеки ред ...more
Inês
Richard Yates é um escritor talentoso que retrata os míticos anos 50 na América. Um país que tentava desesperadamente corresponder ao "sonho americano", onde homens e mulheres procuravam mostrar que a sua vida lhes pertencia.
Nestes onze contos vamos encontrar onze histórias tristes, talvez mais se considerarmos as secundárias que estão dentro delas. Não é óbvia a relação com um tipo de solidão e restam, por vezes, dúvidas sobre qual a personagem mais solitária. Talvez sejam todas, à sua maneira
...more
Jenn Carr
I recently purchased this after reading Revolutionary Road years ago and had high expectations. I was not disappointed. Sad young women in expectant negligees, tough little kids who are awkward and alone at recess. A woman who visits a dying husband that would rather read Popular Science than speak to her. A man in an ill fitting fedora with impossible dreams of a byline. Each new story, each new page introduces you to new individuals who will break your heart as only Yates can.
Glenn Sumi
What can I say? Each story in this book is a gem.

Richard Yates’s influence on decades of short story writers (especially those working in realism) is obvious. The themes are timeless: ordinary people dissatisfied with relationships, family or work, coping with illness, a tyrannical sergeant or teacher, romanticizing the past, fearing the future, trying to build something (to take an image from the final story), be it a novel or a meaningful life.

There are no gimmicks or fake epiphanies. The symb
...more
Sam Still Reading
Apr 30, 2014 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of well written short stories
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: love Richard Yates' work
I’m not the greatest fan of short stories, but I am a passionate fan of Richard Yates. (Revolutionary Road is one of the most exquisite books I have ever read – you can feel the pain and emptiness seep through the pages). I’ll greedily read anything the man has written, but I’m trying to space it out as he is no longer with us. (Richard Yates died in 1992). This book seemed perfect for the short week bookended by two public holidays and easy to dip in and out of.

I should have known that I can’t
...more
Askwhy
I love, love, love, Richard Yates. There's nothing else to it: no other writer speaks true-er, to my ears, than Yates does. I don't think it necessarily is a healthy thing. Susan Sontag, I think it was, said that only the emo sensitive worships Yates, and that Yates is basically a masculinized Sylvia Plath — which is all probably true enough. Regardless though, this is a short story anthology that just educes those gasps of awes. Yates theme of choice has always been that tragedy of everyday enn ...more
Joe
Question: how has it taken me 36 years to get to Richard Yates? I don't really have an answer to that, but it's not necessarily a bad thing; many of the stories in this collection feature lower middle class dudes that became middle-middle class dudes and who are now starting to fall apart in their early middle years. I can appreciate that now more than I could have five years ago. Also, unlike most story collections, where the sameiness of the material and lack of structure can make them a chore ...more
Roland Kermarec
Certaines de mes lectures, sinon toutes, sont empreintes de rituels qui, les années écoulées, les associent ensuite dans ma mémoire, à la manière plus classique d'une chanson, à une période de ma vie, à une émotion particulière : des pages où s'inscrivent en filigrane les souvenirs des moments vécus durant les jours ou les semaines où nous les parcourions, comme si nos sensations, et nos vies de manière plus générale, s'écrivaient à l'encre invisible entre les paragraphes des romans que nous ten ...more
Carmina Tunay
One thing's for sure: I won't be able to give justice to this book in this post. I feel the need to, of course, because all the while I feel like I owe Richard Yates something. All of those who read it must have surely felt the same way.

So, I will try instead, in all my capability, to tell how this book touched me. In one way or another.

This is the first time I read Yates, and probably this is one of the first books I touched since Game of Thrones. That was an awesome time I spent with an epic s
...more
Katrina
It's not an ideal book to read while sitting alone in coffeeshops or an empty apartment, but Richard Yates is a master of the short story format. Every story in this collection ends on a perfect, bittersweet note, without relying on the Aesop-like closing summation to which so many less adept short story writers fall prey. There is no moral to these stories. They don't wrap up nicely, with a neat little bow and a sense of peaceful closure. They're simply glimpses into a range of average lives, w ...more
Rich Gamble
Richard Yates’ writes short stories like they used to make home appliances. Less components and features but top quality construction and built to last. This collection has certainly stood the test of time – each sentence is word perfect and reading these stories is as easy as sliding down a greasy pole after jumping in a tub of lube. In contrast to this the characters and scenarios are rather depressing… they will make you feel like drinking a bottle of scotch alone or hanging yourself on a fam ...more
Libby
I've read the first two stories in this collection, "Dr. Jack O' Lantern" and "The Best of Everything" so far, and I'm smitten. Yates doesn't waste a line; each and every taut, vibrating sentence delivers a huge, economical punch. Both stories are heartbreaking in their direct, uncompromising view of the ways in which human beings who think they are connecting to/with each other are really just passing each other by as they move in opposite directions (or sail along like asymptotic lines--this c ...more
Tyler
Precise and often devastating stories constructed along classical lines.

This review written on my mom's iPad good night and thank you for your time.
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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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“God knows there certainly ought to be a window around here somewhere, for all of us.” 21 likes
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