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The Collected Stories

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  2,172 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Richard Yates was acclaimed as one of the most powerful, compassionate and accomplished writers of America's post-war generation. Whether addressing the smothered desire of suburban housewives, the white-collar despair of Manhattan office workers or the heartbreak of a single mother with artistic pretensions, Yates ruthlessly examines the hopes and disappointments of ordin ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 3rd 2002 by Picador (first published May 3rd 2001)
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Dubliners by James JoyceNine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories by Flannery O'ConnorThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Short Story Collections
122nd out of 997 books — 676 voters
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  SmithBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapoteExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Tales of New York City
347th out of 1,076 books — 947 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 02, 2008 Tim rated it it was amazing
This book kicked my ass. I was reading it while it was cold, and several of the stories use cold as part of the feeling, and I was reading it during some serious emotional turmoil, and much of the book deals with emotional turmoil, but usually subdued, quiet turmoil, boiling beneath the surface and coming out in the stupid little ways it usually does in real life. This guy knew how to capture the embarrassing feelings of futility and shame and hyper self-awareness that I'm scared of and hate fee ...more
Philippe Malzieu
Dec 28, 2014 Philippe Malzieu rated it it was amazing
I did not know Richard Yates before finding this book in a bookseller in Provence. This short novels are a true happiness. Mad Men athmosphere with frigid blonde women and neurotic men.
It is perfectly written. For a lover of American literature it is the missing link between Tennessee William and Raymond Carver. A true discovery.
Apr 01, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2013
Yates makes my soul weep.
Kimberly Faith
Feb 12, 2016 Kimberly Faith rated it it was amazing
I identify so deeply with the writing of Richard Yates and am ashamed to just now read his collected stories. Sure, I've read many of them in anthologies and of course Easter Parade and Revolutionary Road. To read the stories is to admit that Yates drew the bulk of his material from his life experience: World War II, tuberculosis, Hollywood screenwriting, failed marriages, and a dash of current events.

"Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" remains one of my favorite stories of all time with it's frustrated
Richard Yates was a man of my Dad's generation, a group of anxious men too young to qualify for the Greatest Generation and too old to be hippies. And damn could he write about that generation. Yates' world is full of rich, humane portraits of whole classes of people I've never met, drunk World War II vets and blue collar Jersey housewives in the '40s and Depression-era New York street kids.

And yet, unlike his contemporary Updike, Yates was never a flashy writer. His turns of phrase aren't espec
Bojan Gacic
Nov 01, 2013 Bojan Gacic rated it really liked it
The short comment only regards ''The Uncollected Stories''

Returning to Yates is both pleasure and a privilege. A collection of nine stories, discovered at James Madison University, bears no novelties, but reaffirm why we enjoy the painful exactness of his prose. As the most stifled and hidden American novelist he further establishes himself as a supreme chronicler of human disappointment.
Oct 25, 2016 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this right after finishing the biography of Richard Yates. The stories in the collection all contain an element of autobiography. Yates life stories bubble forth in a sort of twilight zone style. My only complaint is that they do become a bit repetitive.
Angela Meyer
Sep 25, 2013 Angela Meyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
*Adapted from a 2010 review on my blog

When a man is fired from his job in the story ‘A Glutton for Punishment’, he realises he has enjoyed the failures in his life. The character in this – like many of the other characters in Richard Yates’ Collected Stories – runs over a conversation in his head, with his wife, before the actual conversation takes place. Reading this book is having a conversation with failure – your own projected shortcomings (gone over in your head
Oct 18, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
There is some fantastic writing here, complex stories, subtle touches, and very intelligent writing. But it can be a bit of a slog at times – not due to poor quality, but because of the sad, painful nature of most of Yates’s stories. The author was a bipolar alcoholic who smoked 5 packs a day, yet somehow managed to live to around 70. He was twice divorced, and he probably was deeply familiar with the emotional dislocation and personal struggles that he writes about in his stories. A sour brew a ...more
Jan 23, 2012 Marcos rated it it was amazing
“The Collected Stories of Richard Yates”—A staggering and wonderful story collection about what it means to be human in postwar 1950s suburbia and beyond. The first segment, selections from Yates’s “Eleven Kinds of Loneliness" are the highlights. His stories are cleanly written, without any pretenses, and quite honestly unflinching about the human condition’s desire to be happy; though unhappiness and misery are always going to be in existence. His characters from the “Eleven Kinds of Loneliness ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Romy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Story: This book brings together stories that were published in Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love, as well as several previously unpublished stories. Almost without an exception, each of these stories features one of the following: struggling writers, tuberculosis, the army, siblings, and cheating husbands and wives.

Opinion: I find it hard to say anything meaningful about Yates, because anything I do say will never live up to what this man has written. If you've read Revolutionary Roa
Jul 16, 2014 Kilean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Revisiting this and good gracious and lord have mercy help my day over the fence, man, these stories are full of sentences packing a bevy of emotion and clarity and pulse. Yates had a rhythm. Sad as hell, but he writes like someone that's alive and knows what it sounds like when people actually talk to one another. Check out The B.A.R. Man and pay close attention to the first few paragraphs and what you learn about the man in question. Algren's short stories somehow led me, back in the day, to t ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Janesnextdoor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Richard Yates but I found these stories hard to get through. His characters are bleak and reading one right after the other was a bit of a downer. That said, they were different than I thought they would be. Short stories can often be zingers and I didn't find these to be so. It's like he shone a spotlight on someone's life for a brief moment and you know it's going to continue on in the same way after as it did before. He's a fantastic writer, but his dark side really came through in thi ...more
Eric Heller
Oct 03, 2016 Eric Heller rated it it was amazing
Simply put: Pure writing artistry, sublime craftsmanship, and perhaps the finest expression of the short story form out there. Heartbreaking and beautiful. Required reading for anyone who aspires to write or who loves fine writing. This is the book that lives on your bedstand with the broken spine and the pages falling out because you will read these gems over and over and over, throughout the rest of your life. They are that good. Then go read Blake Bailey's page-turner biography and have your ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked most of the stories. Real downers. Was recommended this as a fan of Raymond Carver. Still prefer Carver but was surprised by how much I enjoyed Yates' stories too. They have similarities. Usually about working class people dealing with issues that aren't necessarily resolved throughout the story but rather the characters finding themselves in a situation where they have to learn to live with these unresolved issues.
Jun 08, 2014 Asyoulikeit rated it really liked it
some of the uncollected ones are very weak except 'Evening on the Cote d'Azur' and the best one 'A Convalescent Ego'. Otherwise all of those included in the two collections are good or very good (like Doctor Jack-o'-Lantern, The Best of Everything, A Glutton for Punishment or Builders)

Scott Snyder
Feb 22, 2008 Scott Snyder rated it liked it
i love yates' novels, and taken alone, the stories can be inspiring, but all together, the effect is diminishing. too many similarities, too many stories that feel unsure of themselves.
Joe Alewine
Jun 30, 2007 Joe Alewine rated it it was amazing
From top to bottom, the best collection of short stories I've ever read. Yates is uncompromising and insightful, tender and sad. Truly amazing.
Oct 23, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
This volume contains 27 stories by the great Yates. I skipped around and back and forth. Every story was excellent. The author observes life precisely. He knows peoples' minds. He puts his finger on the important parts and shines the light on them and describes them to us in an entertaining and understandable fashion. He is like a surgeon of words. He is wickedly humorous at times. Born in 1925, he covers the post-war years, the middle and late 1940s, the fifties and early sixties especially. He ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Derek rated it liked it
Only three stars for The Collected Stories of Richard Yates? Really? Really? My reservations regarding the largely arbitrary assignment of stars aside, three stars does seem like an uncommonly harsh review of a book that I really enjoyed, from an author who I really love. But three makes sense, I promise.

Three stars because the quality of the first collection contained in this printing, 1962’s Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, is simply nowhere near the fine work that followed it or the gangbusters Re
Feb 08, 2014 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-fiction
This book contains the collections 'Eleven Kinds of Loneliness' and 'Liars in Love', and also some uncollected stories. The titles of both those collections are impeccably well chosen and accurate. It occurs to me that a technique for writing short fiction might be to think of the title of a collection before thinking of any individual story.

Richard Yates is possibly the best value for money short story writer I have ever come across. There is not a single poor or unengaging story in the book. T
Bibiana Jelenska
Absolutely astonishing, delightful and soul-enlighting. Richard Yates captivates captivates raw feelings in such depth which I have never seen before.
May 04, 2016 G rated it liked it
I’ve heard quite a few writers referred to as a master of the short story form. Some of that is hyperbole to sell books and some is legitimate. Yates' name is usually mentioned in that pantheon. I’ll acknowledge his prowess in that area but I can’t really say I enjoyed this collection all that much.

Especially in early stories in this collection I felt he over-relied on writing in the vernacular of his New England based characters. It’s odd that this same style doesn’t bother me with other autho
Feb 24, 2007 Bobby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Richard Yates chronicles the delusions, lost dreams and disappointments of everyday people. The addictive thing about these stories is how he zeroes in on the dreadful details -- the things we want to forget - the sad, sorry moments and chapters of our lives - yet Yates hits them with such dead accurracy he makes you relish the telling of it. There are no happy endings here. I guess the most uplifting thing Yates hopes for his characters is that they will finally wake up and experience something ...more
Dec 23, 2015 Lee rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this collection. It's well written and it has a lot to recommend it, but at this moment in my life it was painful to read and its pessimistic outlook annoyed me.

Why I decided 'Eleven Kinds of Loneliness' would be a good read right NOW, of all the times I could have read it (and several other times I almost did), I'll never know. But once I'd got through it and on to 'Liars In Love', I was determined to finish the fucking thing. And having just done so, I'm glad I did
Kate Brown
Oct 22, 2015 Kate Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-reads
Richard Yates is one of those writers who captures true human emotions and paints life out to be what it actually is......difficult. So many of these stories delve into "true" deep seeded desires and emotions all adults may experience at one point or another. The emotional turmoil he is able to capture is challenging to read because for many, it hits too close to home. One of the common themes throughout many of these stories is the dissatisfaction people feel in their marriages and relationship ...more
Discovered Richard Yates through Richard Russo (Empire Falls- Mohawk- The Risk Pool- etc). I like Russo because he writes about working class people from mostly defunct working class industrial/mill towns. Stuff I can relate to having grown up right next door to Collinsville- a genuine defunct New England industrial town. Russo's stories are mildly dark. They take a close look at ordinary lives- including all the painful struggles people leading those lives go through. Russo and Yates stories bo ...more
Todd Martin
Oct 28, 2013 Todd Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Though not particularly successful as a writer when he was alive, Richard Yates’ work has universally received high praise from critics – including the fact that his novel Revolutionary Road was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. It’s hard to say why his work is not more widely read, but it may have to do with the themes of his stories, which without exception deal with loneliness, disappointment and failure. Those who revel in ‘happy ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it
His settings are VA TB wards, dreary publishing offices inhabited by failed novelists, and awful relationships...He's at his best in the small ticks of people trying to live their lives, descriptions of hair and eyes and the way an angry wife turns away from her husband, or vice his worst when you realize that you've just finished 460 pgs of beautifully written, relentlessly sad and mostly unredeemed people...

I'd place him a rung or two below Andre Dubus--they both write realistic sto
Neil Griffin
May 26, 2014 Neil Griffin rated it it was amazing
There is not much light in this book. This is about the desperate lonely lives after WW2 whether it's in a TB hospital or a New York suburb or, for a few stories, in France. I wasn't terribly surprised that the About The Author page read like a Yates short story. There was the war service, the TB ward for two years, the hard drinking, the white-collar '50s job, the divorce, etc. He took this hard life and turned it into some of the more poetic and haunting short stories I've read. These are all ...more
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  • A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates
  • Selected Stories
  • The Collected Stories
  • The Stories of Richard Bausch
  • Escapes
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  • Through the Safety Net: Stories
  • The Collected Stories
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  • Park City: New and Selected Stories
  • The Collected Stories
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  • Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
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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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