Richard Yates is one of my favourite writers. I read Revolutionary Road a few years ago and was knocked out by it. Now it's top of my list of recommendations to any friends wondering what to read. It rarely fails to delight. Yates published Revolutionary Road, his first novel, in 1961. It was instantly acclaimed as a classic, something he never quite recovered from. Later, both book and author fell out of vogue, and the author drank and smoked himself to an early grave. In the last few years he's been recognised as one of the greats, but as he'd surely say if he knew, too fucking late. Yates is a master of the kind of taut, lucid, brutally honest prose that I'm drawn to. He lies somewhere (chronologically and stylistically) between Hemingway and Carver. All of which is to introduce this brilliant memoir of him published in today's Guardian, by the writer Richard Price. It's worth your time.
"So, Price," he would semi-growl, his elbow beer-damp on the varnish. "They paying you a lotta dough? Are you raking it in? Make sure the bastards pay for it," hacking like a Model T while palming his chest for the next fresh 20. "I wrote a good novel once, you probably never heard of it, well you were a kid, you're still a kid, no reason why you should," slowly stripping the seal. "Just make sure the bastards pay you through the nose."