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The New Yorker : stories
Ann Beattie
Adult Fiction BEATTIE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Gathered in chronological order from 1974 to 1986, these early stories elucidate tension, suspicion, and the uneasy truces between married and divorced couples. Women are in flux and a general malaise settles over the urban dwellers or small town transplants, with notable departures. Though readers may be tempted to regard Beattie's characters as emblematic of their time, even as uniquely "American" in their self-involved, luxurious problems, they have weathered well and transcend easy classification. Beattie has mastered the tango between intelligent, sometimes perplexed individuals, allowing gradual, believable erosions to stand in place of high drama. "The Cinderella Waltz" draws an empathetic triangulation between the narrator, her ex-husband, and his current partner; "Home to Marie" offers a cruel take on unfulfilled expectations. Taken in full, these stories are taut evocations of separation and resignation, even as they reveal tenderness, and the best of them portray love and hatred not as intense polarities, but as tempered forces with fine gradations. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In this book of 48 of her short stories published in The New Yorker magazine, Beattie captures four decades of relationship difficulties. Beginning in the 1970s, the stories feature characters who have lost their way: pot-smoking, jobless drifters; spacey women in dying marriages; children caught in their parents' breakups. Beattie's staccato prose and abrupt endings leave one to wonder, not unpleasantly, what the future holds for these characters. In her later works, Beattie's voice warms and expands as her stories become richer and fuller, with an added sense of humor. Standout titles in this time period include "The Rabbit Hole as Likely Explanation," which relates a middle-aged woman's struggle to deal with her very funny aging mother; and "That Last Odd Day in L.A.," where a widower's sharp wit ostracizes him from everyone in Hollywood but his rich niece and nephew. VERDICT This is a fine collection of stories about characters whose failures to connect with others become Beattie's success as she astutely and wittily plumbs the depths of human relations.-Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib., Malibu, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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