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Ann Beattie Biography

(1947– ), Distortions, Chilly Scenes of Winter, Falling in Place, Love Always, New Yorker, Secrets and Surprises

American novelist and short-story writer, born in Washington, DC, educated at the American University and the University of Connecticut; she has taught at Harvard and the University of Virginia. Beattie is known for her precise observations of suburban, middle-class life. Her early work in the collection of stories Distortions (1976) and the novel Chilly Scenes of Winter (1976) documents the fate of the idealism of the 1960s as ‘the Woodstock generation’ settles into comfortable middle-class middle age. Her novel Falling in Place (1980) is similarly concerned with the emotional disjunctures involved in being a contemporary urban American citizen and chronicles, largely through the eyes of the children, the breakdown of a conventional American marriage. Love Always (1985) combines a realistic attention to descriptive and thematic details with a satirical strain of black humour in its account of the world of contemporary media. Beattie's stories, which appear frequently in the New Yorker, have been collected in Secrets and Surprises (1979), The Burning House (1982), and Where You'll Find Me (1986); Picturing Will (1990) is a later novel.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Houston A. Baker (Houston Alfred to Sally Beauman Biography