Cold Spring Harbor, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


When the Shepards' car breaks down in pre-War New York City, a chain of events is set in motion that will transform the lives of the beautiful but stupid Evan Shepard, his doomed lover Rachel, and both their families.

Fated to play out the mistakes of their parents, Evan and Rachel quickly discover the betrayal behind the dream, and desperately try every avenue of escape, only to find that all paths lead back to the small Long Island coastal town of Cold Spring Harbor, and to each other.

But if there is no better chronicler than Yates of the quiet tragedy of thwarted suburban lives, Cold Spring Harbor is a testament to the absolute necessity of dreaming; for Yates's protagonists, hope may be all there is.


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One word can summarize this book. Disappointment. No, not in the writing or in the book itself, but disappointment by the male protagonists. Father and son, Charles and Evan Shepard, both fail to live out a dream of being a war hero. Charles arrived in France three days after the Great War ended and Evan doesn't pass the army physical after Pearl Harbor. These big disappointments early in the book pave the way for the drab realities of life in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, New York.Yates sets the right tone in the vapid dialogue that characterizes the dailiness of ordinary lives. The despondency is palpable throughout the book in the quiet desperation of people trampled down by the vagaries of lost opportunities and downright bad luck. Richard Yates can make eavesdropping on the most pitiful of situations a captivating endeavor.

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