Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates
This collection of short stories illustrates that loneliness can be found everywhere: in a class room, the work place, a hospital, the military, at home alone with your spouse, or amongst neighbors, family, and friends. Causes vary. Some people are unable to communicate. Others fear rejection or failure. Sometimes vast differences of opinion create insurmountable barriers. Some people yearn to be popular. Others suffer in their relationships because of pride or envy. Richard Yates uses a wide range of colorful personalities to demonstrate the emotion of loneliness. His strength is his ability to develop strong, memorable characters.
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness was published in 1962. The stories center around New York City, and although many scenes focus on scenarios that seem a bit outdated, the emotion expressed is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
My favorite stories are “Doctor Jack-O’-Lantern” which is about a new boy in a 4th grade class who is desperate to be liked, and “The B.A.R. Man”, the story about an army veteran who has an inferiority complex. a chip on his shoulder, and a hot temper; a dangerous combination.
Richard Yates was a journalist, short story writer, novelist, and writing teacher at various American colleges including the prestigious Columbia University. His talent is generally overlooked for more celebrated authors, but I highly recommend his books. Give him a try.
Rated 4 Stars
All contents © 2011 Lois Weisberg. All rights reserved.