Spectacles

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1985 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. BOOK AS NEW, DJ, VERY VERY VERY TINY CORNERB RUBS, ELSE LIKE NEW 37 p. Contains: Illustrations. Goblin Tales. Audience: ... Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Winslow Pels New York, New York, U.S.A. 1985 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?"-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st ... printing)l. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The second in the Goblin Tale series is the distinguished author's first book for children. At devising a ``contemporary story of the unexplained,'' Beattie is not entirely successful, even discounting the dangling phrase (``Looking down, the stairs seemed . . .'') copied on the book jacket from the text. The plot is based on Alison's experiences on her birthday. The little girl's presents are grand and so is the party, although her great-grandmother falls ill and has to stay in bed. Alison wears the ailing lady's eyeglasses that night and witnesses events in the distant past, when her great-grandmother was young and courted by the man she accepted. There is a flatness in the telling, except for the appealing poems that lighten the text at intervals. The illustrations by Pels are also disappointing. Although technically impressive, they are dim; the colors are drab as though poorly reproduced. (813)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Alison feels a letdown when her birthday party is over. Great Grandmother, who is visiting, is sick in bed. Alison's mother is spending a lot of time in the sick room, and Alison feels lonely after all of her guests leave. That night she puts on Great Grandmother's glasses, which become a window to the past, and she sees and hears Great Grandmother as a young woman at the moment Great Grandfather proposed marriage. The next morning Alison talks with Great Grandmother about that moment long ago, and the old woman confirms that things happened the way Alison saw them. Alison learns that ``it's fun to think about the past sometimes.'' Pels' muted color pencil illustrations are as low key as the text. Spectacles is a softly focused story lovingly told in lyrical prose. It is also the kind of gentle whimsy that appeals to adults far more than to children. Drew Stevenson, Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780894809262
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/10/1985
  • Series: Goblin Tales Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years

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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