What Was Mine

What Was Mine

by Ann Beattie
     
 

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A collection of short fiction, twelve works in all, including two never-before-published novellas. Here are disconnected marriages and uneasy reunions, nostalgic reminiscences and sudden epiphanies—a remarkable and moving collage of contemporary lives.  See more details below

Overview

A collection of short fiction, twelve works in all, including two never-before-published novellas. Here are disconnected marriages and uneasy reunions, nostalgic reminiscences and sudden epiphanies—a remarkable and moving collage of contemporary lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beattie's fifth collection of stories (after the novel Picturing Will ) is good news for those readers who, though admiring of her skill at creating characters, are left cold by her unwavering, affectless narration. Collectively, the protagonists in these 12 stories represent a wide range of voices, ages, social classes. Although emotions are openly acknowledged, characters still reveal things of which they are not consciously aware. In a few of these stories Beattie's intent remains elusive; subtlety is carried to an irksome extreme, and the random accretion of details impedes coherence. But at her best, Beattie succeeds in effectively conveying epiphanies. In the moving title story, a man whose father died when he was a baby suddenly understands the true meaning of loss. With the help of her son, the divorcee in ``Horatio's Trick'' achieves an insight that illumines her entire life to date: ``She was just sitting there, scared to death.'' The young husband and father in ``You Know What,'' who has feared for years that ``something bad will happen,'' comes to understand that a life spent in dread is a life wasted. The most impressive story, ``Windy Day at the Reservoir,'' has beautifully nuanced and detailed character portrayal, and a textured plot full of poignant surprises. (May)
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:
9780679739036
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1992
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
252
Sales rank:
1,020,006
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)

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