The Easter Parade: A Novel
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In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates's classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family's past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal.
major in?’ ‘English, I think.’ ‘Good. You’ll read a lot of good books. Oh, you’ll read some that aren’t so good, too, but you’ll learn to distinguish between them. You’ll live in the world of ideas for four whole years before you have to concern yourself with anything as trivial as the demands of workaday reality – that’s what’s nice about college. Would you like some dessert, little rabbit?’ When she got home that day she thought of facing down her mother with the truth about Syracuse, but
grubby little store offering BLOOD AND SAND WORMS; then they were on a country road, and the heels of Emily’s spectator pumps kept turning under her as she walked. ‘Is it much farther?’ she asked. ‘Just beyond this next field. Then we go past a wooded area that’s part of the estate, and then we’re there. I can’t get over how beautiful everything is.’ And Emily was willing to acknowledge that the place was nice. Overgrown, but nice. A driveway led off the road into the trees and the high,
about houses she’d lived in, hunching forward in her deep chair with her elbows on her slightly parted knees. Emily, sitting across from her, could watch her face loosen as she talked and drank, watch her knees move farther apart until they revealed the gartered tops of her stockings, the shadowed, sagging insides of her naked thighs and finally the crotch of her underpants. ‘… No, but the nicest house I ever had was in Larchmont. Remember Larchmont, dear? We had real casement windows and a real
oddly refreshing to sit down with this letter and remember who she was. … All is well at Great Hedges, and all send their love. Tony has been putting in much overtime, so we rarely get to see him. The boys are thriving … Sarah’s handwriting was still the neat, girlish script she had taught herself in junior high school. (‘Well, it’s sweet handwriting, dear,’ Pookie had told her, ‘but it’s a little affected. Never mind, though; it’ll develop more sophistication as you get older.’) Emily skimmed
in your glass when you ordered ‘whiskey escoso.’ Then they were in Lisbon, and it was time to go home. Nothing had changed in Iowa City. The sight of their little house, and then of the big room inside it, called up vivid memories of the year before: it was as if they had never been away. Emily drove off to pick up Cindy from the house where they’d boarded her, and when the dog recognized her, wagging and quivering and showing her teeth, she realized she’d been looking forward to this moment