This 1961 book has haunted me since I first read it about 15 years ago. Written at the birth of suburbia, and the accompanying conformity of such neighborhoods, it tells the story of a couple who believe they’re different from all their banal neighbors. They’re the “creative” ones. But in fact they’re trapped by their fear of authenticity, of real emotion. Or rather, the husband is trapped by that fear, and the wife pays the price. Here’s the part that follows the One Great Sentence above: “Even at night, as if on purpose, the development held no looming shadows and no gaunt silhouettes. It was invincibly cheerful, a toyland of white and pastel houses whose bright, uncurtained windows winked blandly through a dappling of green and yellow leaves … A man running down these streets in desperate grief was indecently out of place.”

Most popular articles from Nieman Storyboard

Show comments / Leave a comment