A Good School
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A Good School

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  880 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Richard Yates, who died in 1992, is today ranked by many readers, scholars, and critics alongside such titans of modern American ficiton as Updike, Roth, Irving, Vonnegut, and Mailer.

In this work, he offers a spare and autumnal novel about a New England prep school. At once a meditation on the twilight of youth and an examination of America's entry into World War II, A Goo...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 7th 2001 by Picador (first published 1978)
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Una buona scuola è una scuola che ti prepara alla vita, alle lotte, ai sacrifici, alle sconfitte, ai colpi vietati e alle cadute che troverai più in là, quando verrai catapultato fuori. La Dorset Academy è una buona scuola: tra le sue mura gli studenti , un microcosmo fatto di cameratismo e di solidarietà ma anche di esaltazione dell’individualismo, con conseguente spirito di rivalsa e di emulazione, affrontano l’adolescenza con il caos emotivo che la caratterizza e si preparano alle vicende dol...more
Adam Floridia
Reading Yates’ writing is like ambling along a country road on a slow Sunday afternoon. With no set destination, you merely admire the changing, cascading fall leaves, feeling deeply a sense of loss yet at the same time enraptured in the profound beauty of life. Yates’ sentences are often long and winding, but they are, at the same time, smooth and soothing—you never get lost in them; you just travel along and enjoy them. This holds true for the novel as a whole, too. With no real plot, the pure...more
I was hovering between 3 and 4 stars with this one. 3 because I thought, simply, the book was a little too short. There are so many interesting characters in these pages: an alcoholic cuckold with polio, a lonely prep school newspaper editor, a womanizing french teacher, a lone pretty teenage girl on an all-boys campus. And the list goes on. They all get their moments, but I could have read some meatier chapters about all of them.

That said, this book had a slow burning power over me. It seems,...more
Sadly, the weakest Yates I have read, though it was written roughly in the middle of his writing career.

This is more overtly autobiographical than his others (though all are heavily based on aspects of his life): it is the story of an awkward, not very academic 15 year old boy joining a prep school and it is topped and tailed by the boy "Grove" (i.e. Yates) explaining why he went there and what happened afterwards. In fact, the introduction was the best section: quirky, personal, poignant and wi...more
Arrivederci ragazzi.

Avevo già deciso di assegnargli tre stelline, non perché non fosse scritto bene, Richard Yates in questo senso è una garanzia, quanto piuttosto perché l'ambientazione in un collegio maschile degli Stati Uniti negli anni Quaranta non era riuscita a creare alcuna sorta di empatia durante la lettura.
Da una parte però era anche vero, come spiegato anche nell'introduzione e nella bellissima premessa scritta dallo stesso Yates - leggerle dopo aver letto Bugiardi e innamorati è impr...more
A good school. What do such inane statements mean? Yates explores exactly what goes on behind the facade of such places, from gang masturbatory attacks to failed suicides. All of his trademarks are here; jumping from third person omniscient to third person limited, sometimes within the same sentence, focusing on subjective inequalities and anxieties. A generation of men, unwittingly bred for war. It's all beautifully bleak and at the same time so reassuring. When I read yates I know that someone...more
Mad Dog
Jan 22, 2010 Mad Dog rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Literary types that like coming of age stories
"Positive" Yates. I am a sucker for 'coming of age' stores and I really like Yates, so this book was in my wheelhouse. I was rooting hard for the main character and many of the other characters in this book. This is a "rooting for the characters" kind of book. And Yates kept me from rooting against the 'bad guys' (which is a heck of a writing skill considering that most writers have you 'hating' the bad guys). And everything (as usual with Yates) rings so true to me.
3 out of 4 stars, purely because although I really enjoyed it, his other books are better and I know you're avidly looking at my ratings to inform what you should read and I would hate for you to opt for this as your gateway as opposed to say Eleven Kinds of Loneliness which I would pretty much give 9 billion stars to if I could. A galaxy.
A Good School, Dorset Academy in Connecticut, is the setting for this very short novel -- just 178 pages and seven chapters long. The school is an all male prep school on the brink of financial disaster. The story takes place around the time World War II began. From what I've read about the author, Richard Yates, this novel seems to be the most autobiographical of those I've read: Revolutionary Road, The Easter Parade and Disturbing the Peace.

The first person narrator, we learn as we read, is Wi...more
When I reviewed Richard Yates' novel Revolutionary Road I wrote that it was "a perfectly-written book" and "a modern classic in the true sense of the word." In his novel A Good School, published seventeen years later, I found a classic of a different sort in that I believe in this later work he captured a certain spirit of place and time perfectly. Even though the book did not seem to me as being perfect in writing style, the economy of Yates' prose still impressed me. Even more striking was his...more
Joe V
The author, (Revolutionary Road), takes a trip down memory lane – from my minimal research this novel is somewhat autobiographical – into the world of a Connecticut boys’ boarding school. The story begins in 1941, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II. The financially strapped “good school” of the title - Dorset Academy – was founded by a now aging, and at best, “eccentric” widow. The academy is also a magnet for “unique” individuals – A faculty that has trouble finding employment else...more
E tre. "Revolutioonary Road", "Easter Parade" e adesso "Una buona scuola".

Se Easter Parade è un romanzo tutto femminile, Una buona scuola, dedicato al padre, e svolto in un collegio maschile, è il suo opposto.
è un fatto singolare che "prologo" e "conclusione" sembrino scritti da Grove (il personaggio-protagonista, anche se Yates costruisce anche in questo libro un labirinto di punti di vista e relativi portavoce-protagonisti) in riferimento a Yates e non viceversa.
Ancora una volta i riferimenti...more
Beim Lesen habe ich meine eigene Schulzeit aus Kindersicht und Erwachsenensicht erlebt. Yates fördert dies, da er ständig die Erzählerrollen wechselt.

Ein Junge wird von seinen Mitschülern gemobbt, das Lernen fällt ihm schwer. Seine Mutter möchte, dass er etwas Besseres wird. Ein verkrüppelter Lehrer wird ständig erniedrigt, ein anderer ist "abgestumpft, distanziert und kalt", selbst der Liebe seiner Tochter gegenüber. Ein anderer Vater möchte, dass sein Sohn nicht verhätschelt wird. Er liebt se...more
Alicja Kawecka
It's well written, but lacks any plot. It's just a bunch of stuff that happens over the time of a few years at a boarding school for boys. I feel like it just wasn't for me, that if i were a boy, it would be more entertaining?...
I have the same weird feeling about this book, that I had about "The Virgin Suicides". These books are nothing alike, but i can't get a handle on both of them. With this one and "TVS" i thought: "oh, that's it? that's the book? was it supposed to mean something, did i m...more
The story depicts the life and culture of the students and staff of a New England prep school.

It touches on the lives of so many students that at times I found it hard to keep characters straight. No one student or teacher is given so much attention that theirs could be considered the predominant story, which leaves you feeling as though the novel is short a ‘middle’. The first hundred pages or so feel as though they’re leading to something quite interesting, but it rounds to a close before any...more
John and Kris
A Good School was disappointing after reading Revolutionary Road. This Yates attempt at a novel came almost twenty years after his masterpiece, after twenty years of hard living and drinking. The failed suicide attempt of a polio-crippled science teacher felt a little too real, as though Yates had tried the exact same over-the-steam-pipe-with-a-sturdy-Brooks-Brothers-belt at some point before writing the scene. Also a little too real: the sadistic homoerotic episodes of a private boarding prep s...more
c1978. I seem to recall that this book appeared on my radar as part of the tedious process of transferring and checking my books from Visual Bookshelf (thanks for that by the way!!!!) onto Goodreads. I am glad that I was diverted from my task as this was a great read. The Times is quoted as saying "A magnificent writer" and indeed, his writing is plain, evocative, and sometimes, shocking. And I mean in the manner of the plot rather than any brutality and blood etc.. The characters quickly become...more
Un Yates in apparenza meno cinico, quasi sentimentale, ripercorre gli anni dell’adolescenza in una scuola pseudo alternativa scelta dalla “solita” madre in cerca di riscatto sociale. Gli anni sono quelli della seconda guerra mondiale, presenza incombente nel romanzo che narra le vicende di un gruppo di ragazzi in un college americano di provincia, con i suoi riti di appartenenza e i piccoli/grandi drammi di ogni adolescenza; attorno a loro il mondo accademico con le sue piccinerie, le crisi di c...more
Jennifer Campaniolo
This was a welcome departure from the usual themes Yates is known for--post-World War II, suburban-angst. In A Good School, we're on the cusp of the Second World War, in a down-at-the-heels boarding school for boys in Connecticut--Dorset Academy. The main character--and I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's probably a facsimile of the author as a teenager--is William Grove, a slight, socially-awkward kid who becomes the whipping boy of the other, more popular students. Other characters incl...more
and another half star for good measure because, without a doubt, richard yates is one of the best prose writers america has seen in the last 50 years. however, "a good school" is a testament to the debilitating power of alcoholism. with "revolutionary road" and "eleven kinds of loneliness", yates had produced the prerequisite great novel, in tandem with the piercing short stories, that is required to be considered for canonical status. yet, yates had trouble with the alcohol, and this - in turn...more
Es ist ein autobiographischer Roman über die Schulzeit in einer "komischen" Schule, kurz vor dem zweiten Weltkrieg. Es ist eine Privatschule, die gar nicht wirklich so gut war, aber eine Ansammlung von verschiedener Persönlichkeiten und Charakteren. Den Kindern wurde erlaubt sich frei zu entfalten, auch wenn die Schule lange nicht alle Möglichkeiten angeboten hatte. Kritisch betrachtet werden die Lehrer, von denen die meisten eher als Looser dargestellt werden.
Die Geschichte ist dennoch sehr sc...more
"Io non voglio soldi, voglio lettori"

(Richard Yates)

Inizierei dicendo che Yates ha appena conquistato una nuova lettrice.

I temi di "Una buona scuola" sono quelli che io amo di più, l'adolescenza, il percorso di crescita di un giovane uomo e la presa di coscienza di quelle passioni che dureranno una vita intera. E fin qui ci siamo. Eppure non sarebbe bastato senza questa scrittura così realistica e appuntita, che mi ha raccontato una scuola vera, con persone terribilmente imperfette, a volte di...more
Almost too slight for its own good, this, the second novel I have read by Richard Yates, is as lovely and insightful a piece of writing as "Revolutionary Road." Yet it is nowhere as good. While the comparison is almost certainly unfair, having read both novels in recent enough proximity to each other, it's also inevitable.

"A Good School" has all the cold and cutting observational quality that made "Revolutionary Road" such a -- if you'll pardon the repetition -- revelation. But "A Good School" a...more
Simon Reid
I've read several of Yates' novels and short stories now, and this was middling by his standards. It compresses his own experiences of boarding school into an awkwardly short novel.

Yates flits so quickly between the masters and pupils and a few peripheral figures that they all feel very loosely drawn. There's an auspicious set-up – the new French teacher 'Frenchy la Prade' seducing the wife of a polio-surviving English master, Dorset Academy's impending financial ruin, Grove (cipher for Yates)...more
Nikki Bezdel
Another poignant tale from this masterful writer. Some exceptional moments of genius are scattered throughout this work, but it failed to draw me in as completely as other titles - The Easter Parade in particular - have done. I think this is largely down to the subject and setting of the story of which I lack personal experience; for others I believe this would pose no barrier to enjoyment. As always, the plot moves along briskly, the characters are vividly drawn with each offering a unique pers...more
This is my first Yates book and I found it disappointing. There was immense scope for making this a spectacular drama but Yates seemed to be satisfied with the mundane. As another reader pointed out, most of it is just male and American juxtaposition of Enid Blyton's school stories. Unfortunately, where Ms Blyton ensures entertainment in her stories and well drawn characters, Yates achieves neither here. He introduces a character, the. Forgets about him for most of the book then suddenly brings...more
Remember the loneliness; the awkward social status jockeying of your teenage years? Remember when your world was simultaneously fascinating, mortifying, and beautiful? Remember when every adult seemed like an odd character from a B-movie? Remember your teenage body? Remember the awkward attempts at connecting with others?

A Good School is a private prep school, boys coming-of-age story that takes place during the early 1940s in northern Connecticut at the fictional Dorset Academy; a less than pr...more
This is the story of a group of boys growing up in an all boys boarding school in Connecticut just before WWII starts. It portrays the casual cruelty of these adolescent years, the yearning for acceptance, the sudden turns of fate. At the same time, Yates sheds a light on the closed community of the faculty. Dorset Academy, founded by an idiosyncratic old woman who always wanted to be a boy, is a place for misfits and oddities...a "funny" school, and a "good" school in the sense that it allowed...more
I really enjoyed reading this book, it's not the story,( whoever knows a bit about prep schools can't be surprised) I just love how all the characters, adults or teenagers are treated with the same elegant penetration. There are bursts of violent crudity and bursts of beautiful sensuality. The monologues of some of the characters seem to rhyme the novel like poetry, and the eternal repetition of humiliation give the sense that, as Driscoll says, " it's not about you". It says something of the ab...more
This was quite a disappointment after "Revolutionary Road" which I really enjoyed. A short book about life in a small private boys' boarding school in Connecticut during the years of the second world war. I thought for such a slim volume there were just too many characters to get to grips with, and little to really differentiate a number of them. Yes, there was a quirky charm that occasionally came through, but the scenarios described were generally quite predictable for this sort of environment...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
More about Richard Yates...
Revolutionary Road The Easter Parade The Collected Stories Eleven Kinds of Loneliness Disturbing the Peace

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