Picturing Will

Overview

Picturing Will, the widely acclaimed new novel by Ann Beattie, unravels the complexities of a postmodern family. There's Will, a curious five-year-old who listens to the heartbeat of a plant through his toy stethoscope; Jody, his mother, a photographer poised on the threshold of celebrity; Mel, Jody's perfect — perhaps too perfect — lover; and Wayne, the rather who left Will without warning and now sees his infrequent visits as a crimp in his bedhopping. Beattie shows us how these lives intersect, attract, and ...

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Picturing Will

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Overview

Picturing Will, the widely acclaimed new novel by Ann Beattie, unravels the complexities of a postmodern family. There's Will, a curious five-year-old who listens to the heartbeat of a plant through his toy stethoscope; Jody, his mother, a photographer poised on the threshold of celebrity; Mel, Jody's perfect — perhaps too perfect — lover; and Wayne, the rather who left Will without warning and now sees his infrequent visits as a crimp in his bedhopping. Beattie shows us how these lives intersect, attract, and repel one another with dazzling shifts and moments of heartbreaking directness.

The widely acclaimed new novel by Ann Beattie unravels the complexities of a postmodern family. "Positively shines. . . . The language is inspired, rhapsodic and true. Beattie has created a surprising, lyrical and deeply affecting work."--The New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this meditation on psychic survival in the 1980s, five-year-old Will adapts to unconventional family life with his single mother, his philandering father and his mother's lover. PW remarked that although the book flounders in parts, ``Beattie offers gimlet insights on the compromises of marriage, men's emotional armor, sex as escape, the terrors of childhood.'' Jan.
Library Journal
Beattie here aims to flesh out her characteristically bone-thin writing, but the skeleton still shows through. Aspiring photographer Jody, abandoned by husband Wayne--now on his third wife--is deeply devoted to her young son Will but hesitant to commit to lover Mel. Still, she visits Mel in faraway New York City, where Mel's friend, gallery owner Haverford whose name she can recall only as Haveabud, takes a shine to her work--or to her. When Mel takes Will to visit his father in Florida, Haveabud goes along for the ride, bringing Spencer, a former protege's son with whom he engages in sexual acts shockingly direct in their description. Meanwhile, Wayne demonstrates his continued instability by cheating flagrantly on his new wife, Corky. As the story moves from life to life, we see the characters more fully, as in multiple exposures; but this approach does not so much enrich our understanding as distance us from the characters. A pity; there are some insightful comments here, and some sharp, bright writing. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/89.-- Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679731948
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/2/1991
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,011,201
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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