Eleven Kinds of Loneliness - Richard Yates

My plan is to read all of Richard Yates´ work in chronological order, so next up after Revolutionary Road has been his first short story collection. And as always with short story collections, it has been a mixed bag for me.


The main theme of this collection is loneliness in 1950s America in all its forms and how the characters deal with it. There is the child, who gets bullied in school, the patient in a TB ward, the unhappy spouse in a marriage, the unsatisfied worker of a newspaper and the dreamer, who wants to create but doesn´t have the means to do this himself.


Richard Yates just has that uncanny ability to give his characters a personality and a soul, whether he writes about them on 300 pages or on merely twenty. The stories are quite sad and depressing and especially the first story, "Dr. Jack-O-Lantern", has been a total gut-punch (at least for me). Some stories worked better for me than others, but there hasn´t been a story that I disliked and overall it´s a strong collection of short stories.