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A Tragic Honesty

A Tragic Honesty Cover

A Tragic Honesty

The Life and Work of Richard Yates

By Blake Bailey

Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312423759, 671pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2000


Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. In Blake Bailey's masterful and entertaining biography, Yates himself serves as the fascinating lens into mid-century America, a world of would-be artists, depressed housewives, addled businessmen, high living, wistful striving, and self-deception. The story of Richard Yates here stands as a singular reminder of what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devil's bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.

About the Author
Blake Bailey has written for a number of magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. He lives with his wife in northern Florida.

Praise For A Tragic Honesty

"The arrival of Blake Bailey's great, perceptive, heartbreaking, Yates biography is a landmark event."--The New York Times

"[A] tremendous book...It's a storytelling success that Bailey can turn Yates's long, slow grind toward obscurity into a fabulous and often hysterical read.... Yates rises up as something he never allowed in his fiction: a hero."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Compulsively readable...Indispensable...Excellent in itself, it records, with photographic accuracy, where Yates's obsessively autobiographical fiction originated."--The New York Times Book Review

"[A] meticulously researched, judicious, and critically perceptive biography...Bailey's version of Yates's life proves to be its own kind of masterpiece, as gripping as the best of Yates’s novels, and more inspiring than sad."--The Boston Globe