Young Hearts Crying
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Young Hearts Crying

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  885 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Another masterpiece from the author of Revolutionary Road Michael Davenport, a minor poet, is an intensely ambitious young man - just old enough to have served in the US Air Force at the end of World War Two. Every failure he suffers in his efforts to become established as a professional writer weighs against the uneasy knowledge that his wife, Lucy, has an untapped privat...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published 1986 by Methuen
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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
Jon
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
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
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
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
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...more
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,...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
Selina
This is the first book I read from Richard Yates. I wanted to try one of his books after watching the movie Revolutionary Road.
The ending of Young Hearts Crying is quite predictable, because the sypnosis on the back cover more or less gives it away, and yet, I wanted to read on to find out what was said and done to cause the ending.
The main characters are ordinary people going through the ups and downs in their lives and finally driven apart by their conflicts. All the characters are quite cre...more
Rodney
Richard Yates's first book was Revolutionary Road, which is one of the best novels of the 20th century and a stunningly powerful book with sections that are as good as writing gets.

That said, I have read a good portion of his other works and they are certainly good in their own right (in fact, the short stories are the best of the lot), but none of them come close to the brilliance of RR. Young Hearts Crying is a good story, but Yates's attempt to recapture some of the magic of RR is a little tr...more
maria
i am not the kind of person to give up on a book.
i read cover to cover and there are only about five or so books that i have not finished in my entire stint as a reader. most of which i plan on going back to (infinite jest, finnegans wake,...) i'm trying with this one, but its just not happening. i've made my way through the first two of three parts and they are consistently becoming less and less of even a decent exercise in distinguishing what went wrong. its too bad because i loved revolutio...more
Jakki
I spent the first nearly third of the book disappointed that it wasn't "Revolutionary Road", as I loved that book so much. When I began to take "Young Hearts Crying" on it's own merits, I began to truly enjoy the ride.

We follow Michael and Lucy Davenport from their courtship through divorce and their lives through the decades of the mid 20th century. Victories and failures. The need to find something special and BE someone special. Relationships that come and go. Relationships that change. Yates...more
Esther
Not as good as Revolutionary Road (but well, hardly a criticism as that puts 99% of books in the same category)

Covers similar territory as RR, a young couple meet, marry and divorce set in late 50s/1960s New York and surrounds. More of the book covers their post-divorce respective lives which was interesting as they strive for meaning after the marriage/move to the burbs path didn't provide any fulfillment for either of them.

Lots of dabbling in therapy, trying to figure out what it means to be...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 Sytron described it as "A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." Tennessee...more
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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?” 19 likes
“How could you ever learn to trust the things you made up?” 2 likes
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