The novelist Richard Yates, who died in 1992, was once called “a writer’s writer’s writer,” a witty epithet for a career spent at a maddening remove from the large public its owner craved. Yates made a splash with Revolutionary Road (1961), a novel praised for its unblinking depiction of suburban ennui. But the splash never rippled very far outward. Revolutionary Road remained the best known of Yates’s nine books, and his career bore the dreaded “nice reviews...
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