Short Story Monday is hosted by John.
Although I did not want to read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, I knew that I did want to read more of his work. This short story seemed a good place to begin. It is in my Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, but was originally collected in Yates' book of short stories, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness published in 1962. It features two Yale graduates in France. One of them has an independent income and may spend his life just 'floating around,' while the other has a job waiting back in the States working for his father. The only women are girlfriends without much of a role in the story. Though the women had superficial parts, their presence did move the story along, teaching the reader more about Carson and Ken.
What I found interesting is that so often we read of the unattractive girl or the unpopular girl while rarely reading of her male counterpart. Ken is that man. He is a hanger-on to Carson, a man comfortable in society, and shallow with a cruel streak. He is overweight and has borne the burden of ridicule and disgusted looks his whole life. Only when Ken is with Carson does he feel alive and happy. In this story, we see them both separate and together, and discover what really makes each of them tick. The circumstances in the story cause a shake-up of their old pattern which provides the climax.
I thought A Really Good Jazz Piano was very good. Richard Yates does an excellent job of developing characters and setting, bringing the story alive.