Colin N.'s Reviews > Disturbing the Peace

Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates
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Jul 25, 11


In "Disturbing the Peace" John Wilder is a successful advertising executive and living the American middle class dream with a marriage, 10-year-old child, and a thriving business. That is until he returns from a business trip and calls to tell his wife that he cannot come home. This refusal leads John down a spiral that leads to extensive drinking, abuse of prescription medication, and mental illness.

"Disturbing the Peace" is a tragic tale. I was expecting a plot more like "Rabbit Run," in which a middleclass man abandons a suburban life that makes him feel empty. And there is some of that, as John engages in an affair with a young woman. The affair itself, however, is treated in the book as part of the suburban landscape, something that it is typical, or at least not unusual. The more shocking, surprising, and depressing focus of the book, and what ultimately leads to his downfall, is John's mental illness, and not really the affair itself. When John first arrives in an asylum he seems sane. But as the book progresses we are witness to his deterioration. Whether due to some inherent mental instability or his abuse of drugs and medication, or a combination of these factors, he gradually comes undone. It is a pretty harrowing tale.

So an interesting novel. Not completely a novel of suburban malaise, more the story of a lost man's struggle to maintain sanity in a difficult world.

An interesting read.
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