Beattie, Ann

Beattie, Ann bēˈtē, bāˈ– [key], 1947–, American writer, b. Washington, D.C. She gained attention in the early 1970s with short stories in the New Yorker; the 48 stories she published (1974–2006) there were collected in The New Yorker Stories (2010). In 1976 she won acclaim for the novel Chilly Scenes of Winter and the story collection Distortions, each chronicling with ironic wit the disillusionments of the upper-middle-class generation that came of age in the 1960s and 70s. Her keenly observed and dryly matter-of-fact early narratives of everyday life are often cast in the present tense. In her later work, especially that beginning in the 1990s, she largely concentrates on the same generation—grown older and more ruminative but not happier—and their often listless progeny. In these works Beattie often employs a much less minimalist style and achieves a new emotional depth as she explores themes that include the sadnesses of middle age and the alienation of characters whose relationships and very lives seem inevitably to falter. Her other fiction includes the novels Falling in Place (1981), Picturing Will (1990), and Another You (1995), the novella Walks with Men (2010), and the short stories in Distortions (1976), The Burning House (1983), What Was Mine (1991), Park City (1998), Perfect Recall (2000), Follies (2005), and The Accomplished Guest (2017).

See Conversations with Ann Beattie (2007), ed. by D. Trouard; studies by C. Murphy (1986) and J. B. Montresor, ed. (1993).

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