The New Yorker Stories Ann Beattie. epub ebook
ISBN: 1439168741, 9781439168745
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
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While all critics professed respect for Ann Beattie’s significant influence on the American short story, how they reviewed her New Yorker collection depended on how much they really liked her minimalist style—one often devoid of tone, emotion, and cultural signposts. The San Francisco Chronicle categorized reaction to her work in three ways: “masterful,” “resistant and chilly,” or perhaps “both.” Appreciation, it seems, is a matter of literary taste. Certainly, there’s much to admire, even if only rarely do the stories tie together neatly. The earlier ones, those that made Beattie’s name, are more spartan; the later ones more nuanced, though they bear similarities to their predecessors. Whether or not one embraces her style, few writers capture the American psyche like Beattie.