Another You

Overview

To her latest novel, Beattie brings the same documentary accuracy and Chekhovian wit and tenderness that have made her one of the most acclaimed portraitists of contemporary American life. Marshall Lockard, a professor at the local college, is contemplating adultery, unaware that his wife is already committing it.

A superb new novel by the author of Picturing Will. Marshall Lockard, who teaches English at a small New England college, is flirting with a student; his ...

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Another You

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Overview

To her latest novel, Beattie brings the same documentary accuracy and Chekhovian wit and tenderness that have made her one of the most acclaimed portraitists of contemporary American life. Marshall Lockard, a professor at the local college, is contemplating adultery, unaware that his wife is already committing it.

A superb new novel by the author of Picturing Will. Marshall Lockard, who teaches English at a small New England college, is flirting with a student; his wife Sonja is playing at an affair with her boss. Into this scene, steps one of Marshall's colleagues, trailing clouds of trouble, who sets off a chain of events that catapults Marshall and Sonja into a reexamination of their marriage and themselves.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In her latest novel since Picturing Will (LJ 1/90), Beattie again explores the anxieties of the American middle class. Using a deliberately understated narrative voice, she presents the confused world of college professor Marshall Lockheed and his wife, Sonja. As Marshall ponders whether to tell Sonja about his complicated infatuation with a student, Sonja ponders the pros and cons of revealing her brief affair with her boss. Meanwhile, repercussions from their rather unexceptional indiscretions are about to plunge both Lockheeds into some very unusual territory. In the background are Marshall's dying stepmother, a woman with secrets of her own, and a collection of mysterious letters from the past with significant links to the present. Beattie's detached prose captures characters and events photographically: precise images are put forth for the reader to ponder without authorial analysis or elaboration. At its best, this technique stimulates thought and imagination, but it will not appeal to all readers. Nevertheless, this is essential where Beattie's work is admired. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/95.]Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ., Arlington, Va.
Howard Frank Mosher
"Powerful and entertaining...Her best novel to date and one of the very richest and satisfying new books I've read in years." -- Washington Post Book World
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679734642
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 859,206
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann  Beattie
Ann Beattie
To many readers, Ann Beattie was the diarist for a whole cross-section of American society. Wryly chronicling the confusion and disillusionment of a generation stuck with the free-love era's hangover, the prolific short story writer and novelist set the tone for coming of age in the '70s and after.

Biography

After publishing several stories in The New Yorker, Ann Beattie burst on the literary scene in 1976 with not one, but two books -- a collection of short fiction entitled Distortions and a critically acclaimed debut novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter. Almost immediately, she was proclaimed the unofficial diarist of an entire generation, evoking the lives of feckless, young, middle-class baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s yet never really grew up, choosing instead to lug around their dashed expectations like so much excess baggage.

Indeed, Beattie's fiction is filled with such unhappy characters -- intelligent, well-educated people whose lives are steeped in disappointment and a vague sense of despair. Failed relationships, nostalgia for the past, and the inability to reconcile youthful idealism with the demands of adult life are recurring themes in short story collections like Secrets and Surprises (1978), What Was Mine (1991), and Park City (1998), as well as novels such as Falling in Place (1981), Love Always (1985), and Another You (1995).

Yet, Beattie vehemently denies that she set out to chronicle an era or to describe a particular demographic. ''I do not wish to be a spokesperson for my generation,'' she told The New York Times in 1985. She explained further (in the literary magazine Ploughshares) that she simply wrote about the people who surrounded her -- refugees from the '60s, bewildered by the real world and longing to return to the seductive counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

A writer of spare, elegant, whip-smart prose, Beattie has been classified as a minimalist, a label she rejects as reductive. In many ways, though, her writing fits the bill. Her stories, like those of minimalism's famous poster boy (and Beattie's good friend) Raymond Carver, are composed of simple, declarative sentences teeming with irony and finely observed detail; also like Carver, she is a nonjudgmental narrator, completely detached from her characters and their actions and meting out contextual clues to be interpreted by the reader. However, as she has matured as a writer, she has traded in strict minimalism for a more realistic style, endowing her characters with emotions (and something of an inner life!) and rendering her fiction more fully "human."

Occasionally, Beattie has come under attack for loading her stories with brand names and pop culture references. But even this use of "Kmart realism" seems not to have dimmed her light. Reviewing her 2008 anthology Follies for The New York Times, David Means had this to say: "[W]hen Beattie's work is clicking her stories are wonderful to behold. Her best work ... will endure long after so much of what we know now -- the brand names, television shows and quick-shop stores -- is gone."

Good To Know

Beattie's first novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter, was adapted into a film by Joan Micklin Silver starring John Heard and Mary Beth Hurt. It was first released in 1979 as Head Over Heels with an unsatisfying, tacked-on happy ending. Audiences were lukewarm. In 1982, the movie was re-released under the novel's title and with an ending that matched the book. This version was a success.

Beattie is married to the painter Lincoln Perry. In 2005 the two collaborated on a retrospective of Perry's paintings entitled Lincoln Perry's Charlottesville, boasting a long essay and interview by Beattie.

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    1. Hometown:
      Maine and Key West, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 8, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      B.A., American University, 1969; M.A., University of Connecticut, 1970

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