Richard Yates belongs in a category all of his own. Eugene O'Neil is the only other writer who comes close to his, particular brand of, darkness. The construction of the interior lives of these young hopefuls, living out the suburban nightmare of fifties America, is remarkable in its detail, realism and symbolic relation to the world of the novel. The emotional depth, ear for dialogue and dramatic construction is second to none. The philosophical insights regarding the American Dream in all it's terrible mediocrity informs the world of the book, the world at large and your own existence in devastating prose.