For someone who wasn’t into short stories a few years ago, I sure am unrecognisable. These days I will happily pick up, on my own steam, a collection of short stories by authors from anywhere (as long as it’s written in or translated into English).
Since I’ll also read anything by Richard Yates, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness was a book I was extremely eager to read. It pretty much does what it says on the tin. Like his novels, the stories are about Americans in the mid-20th century. They experience disappointments and heartbreak. There’s something beautifully melancholic about Yates’ characters and his storytelling that simply cannot be matched by any true-to-life misery memoir or contemporary mis-lit.
Given my slight obsession with the lifestyles of the before-I-was-born — Pleasantville continues to be one of my favourite films and how addicted am I to Mad Men? Completely — Yates strikes a perfect chord with me. A definite literary crush.