A Special Providence

Richard Yates

First Sentence:     On Saturdays, when inspection was over and passes were issued in the Orderly Rooms, there was a stampede of escape down every company street in Camp Pickett, Virginia.

Back of the book:     Robert Prentice is eighteen, and his boyhood dreams have disintegrated on the battlefields of Europe. At home, his mother, Alice, wraps herself in fantasy against the relentless disappointments of life.

From his compelling portraits of these two damaged souls, Richard Yates creates a brilliant novel of post-war America, at odds with its own identity, striving to combine prosperity and ideals, and mercilessly exposed in the attempt to do so. At once tender and ironic, bitterly sad and achingly funny, A Special Providence is the second novel by the author of Revolutionary Road.

Quotes from the book:

“He had come for sanctuary in the very comfort of her “lies” – her groundless optimism, her insistent belief that a special providence would always shine on brave Alice Prentice and her Bobby, her conviction, held against all possible odds, that both of them were somehow unique and important and could never die.”

For that reason Alice Prentice had always welcomed sleep, but she suffered an insomniac’s dread of the time just before sleeping, the act of falling asleep itself, the perilous twilight of semi-awareness when the mind must struggle for coherence, when a siren or a cry in the street is the very sound of terror and the ticking of the clock is a steady reminder of death.

* * *

Last Sentence:     He wished her luck.

An enjoyable read, but not as good as Revolutionary Road.

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