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Chilly Scenes of Winter
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Chilly Scenes of Winter

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  782 ratings  ·  78 reviews
This is the story of a love-smitten Charles; his friend Sam, the Phi Beta Kappa and former coat salesman; and Charles' mother, who spends a lot of time in the bathtub feeling depressed.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 2nd 1991 by Vintage (first published September 1976)
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The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls WilderIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoThe Winter's Tale by William ShakespeareWinter Prey by John SandfordWinter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
Books With Winter In The Title
69th out of 87 books — 28 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenHarry Potter Boxset by J.K. RowlingJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Hey, chicks can write, too!
249th out of 831 books — 217 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,535)
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I probably shouldn't read books like this. I know plenty about disenchanted youth. I'm 24 and spend a lot of time in small bars and on lonely buses. And I liked the book, but I liked it in this weird self-indulgent pornographic way. Yes, every conversation rang true, every character was real. But a Raymond Carver or a Grace Paley can take that grit and veritas and turn it into pure transcendence. Beattie's bleak world sings some, but it doesn't transcend.

And this is probably a terrible metric fo...more
Jun 07, 2009 Núria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Núria by: Oscar Pons
No hay duda que 'Postales de invierno' es una novela generacional y yo siempre recordaré que la leí en el momento adecuado. No importa que hable de la resaca de los setenta després de la fiesta hippie de los sesenta, para mí siempre hablará de ese mes de mi vida en que abandoné el trabajo y consumí los días repartiendo mi tiempo entre la angustia y la apatía. Que los dos protagonistas tengan exactamente la edad que tengo yo ahora (27) no acaba de hacer nada más que reforzar esta connexión. 'Post...more
Oct 15, 2007 Gene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book never feels clever or exciting. It feels like real life.
João Carlos
O livro “Postais de Inverno”, publicado em 1976, é o primeiro romance da escritora norte-americana Ann Beattie.
Um romance que tem Charles no centro de uma narrativa emocionalmente complexa, revelando-se um jovem com 27 anos, perdidamente apaixonado por Laura, uma mulher casada que retorna para junto de Jim, o seu marido. Essa obsessão amorosa condiciona a sua vivência e transtorna o seu relacionamento existencial.
Beattie associa Charles a um conjunto de personagens estereotipadas, com comportam...more
Tells the internal monologue (but in 3rd person) of a stunted guy, Charles, obsessed with a married woman. There's no plot. It's just him hanging around with his sister or best friend, starting at every phone call that might be from his love object, but that usually is from his step-father who is minding his mentally ill mother. Charles sounds a little crazy too, but many of his thoughts are hilarious. It's Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie, published in 1976, if you can imagine. Almost lik...more
one of my favorite novels of all time. some books are capital-g Great overall and some are more modest product that happen to speak in your specific dialect, right to you. this was one. i don't know that it should be required reading in everyone's american lit class, but i capital-l Love it. it's everything i require in a book, with magic gravy on top.
Amanda Steinhoff
An incredibly real and moving book. It was sad without being melodramatic or so depressing i couldn't connect with the character. Beattie truly captured what it means to be in love. Not the healthy, whimsical romance it's off portrayed as, but real, messy, destructive love. Just an all around great, poignant book.
Caitlin Constantine
I found this book underwhelming and just okay. The parts I did find to be of interest also happened to be very depressing, as pretty much every character with the exception of Laura was pitiful and sad. I guess that's a function of the fact that the narrator is one of those classic "disaffected youth" types, where he can't help but see the pathos in everyone he encounters. I could see why reviewers compared it to "Catcher in the Rye," because Charles had that attitude that he was somehow better...more
This is my favorite Ann Beattie book. I wish she wrote happier material. Ann Beattie is very deliberate in her words and descriptions. Often compared to Carver. She doesn't like the tag of being a minimalist.

When Ann Beattie writes about a man she writes it like a man. Most of her stories are nearly the opposite of a love story. The line from Charles goes something like this, "Why Would you chose someone who loves you less over someone who loves you more?"

You get submerged into charles charact...more
I read this book ... why did I read this book? I didn't really like the one story of hers I read that was published in the New Yorker. But people compared her to Tao Lin and I wanted to read something like what he writes and I've read all of his books already. So I read this book. And I really liked it. Like really really liked it. Nothing tremendous happens and things are pretty normal and sometimes you don't know why this is a book, which is what makes it wonderful. I kind of felt like I had c...more
I want to say "it's not you, it's me," as I always feel I am to blame when I feel drawn to a novel, almost have some sense of responsibility to it, and there is no connection. I have bullied many, many people into reading many, many of her stories. And I've tried so many times with this one, knowing this is one of her most well-received longer works but it just feels somewhat lifeless to me. What is it I'm missing here?
¿Pero hubo algún tiempo donde los jóvenes no estuvieran desencantados? Entiendo por qué a Tao Lin le gusta tanto.
Misti Rainwater-Lites
I saw most of the movie on television last year then bought the book. The movie had a more believable ending. I give this book five stars because of the believable characters. Charles is all kinds of messed up, obsessing over Laura. I've lost count of how many times I've been there myself but I'm a love addict. This book is porn for a love addict's soul.
l'ossessione per una donna lontana, la solitudine, la famiglia, la mediocrità, l'amicizia. e su tutto - un freddo che non è solo quello dell'inverno, ma anche un gelo del cuore che si stempera nelle ultime, umanissime e tenere pagine. un romanzo commovente, senza una sbavatura e una leziosaggine - sul dolore e la disillusione e l'infelicità.
this book is the literary equivalent of A Hazy Shade of Winter" by Simon & Garfunkel. Why did I read it? I don't know. All of her books are depressing and cynical. But-I don't forget them either. Maybe the products of my young adulthood have informed my middle adulthood.
Dec 01, 2007 rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!!!!!
thanks andrew! this is so good. seriously, 5 stars. i am absorbed.

also, it was so good i thought the ending would be bad, but the ending was good. this is probably the best book i have ever read. i am not sure if i am exagerating, but I don't think I am.
This is one of my top ten favorite all time books. I have a battered copy I bought over ten years ago and have read this book at least twice a year since I bought it.
Jan 01, 2011 S.B. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the depressed
I liked it very much. Actually, I'm looking forward to reading it again later.
One of my all-time favorite books--and definitely my favorite Beattie book.
Miles Ross
i hope i read this book again.
David Contreras
It's 1975. The '60s are over. Actually, the '60s have been over for half a decade. The '60s opened your eyes, though. Made you see the world clearly. So, why in 1975 is the world comprised of shit? Maybe you should've never had your eyes opened in the first place.

The world revolves around Charles. It's a depressing world. It's so depressing it's hilarious. He lives his days coming home from his boring job and opening the mail: At home, he sorts through the day’s mail: a letter from the Human Soc...more
Li'l Vishnu

Charles picks up a pile of mail and opens first a small blue envelope addressed to him in unfamiliar handwriting. It is a small blue booklet: “Why you didn’t get a Christmas card from us.” He begins reading: “Did you wonder, in all the holiday hassle, why you didn’t get a Christmas card from Carolyn and Bud? The answer can be quickly given: Carolyn and Bud were having problems. But there’s more to the story than that. After all, each could have sent a card. But each was too preoccupied during t

Buen libro. A terminado gustandome bastante. Eso sí, tengo que advertir que al empezar me resultó incomodo. Tendrá que ver con como está escrito y con que generar una sensación de llegar tarde a una fiesta ya comenzada (después me he enterado que eso puede deberse a que la autora "tiró" a la basura las primeras 40 páginas e hizo empezar el libro así, a medias). Una vez superado el inicio, se lee con placer y resulta a tramos muy gracioso (claro que también bastante triste a la vez, es de esos li...more
Simone Subliminalpop
Charles è un ragazzo, come tanti, ma con un’ossessione amorosa per Laura, ora ritornata dal marito. Un pensiero costante che lo segue ovunque: durante una settimana di vacanza in cui arriva a trovarlo la sua sorella minore, mentre cerca di aiutare il suo unico e migliore amico Sam rimasto senza lavoro, negli incontri con altre donne (più o meno fortuiti) o ancora mentre ascolta le telefonate assurde che arrivano puntualmente dal patrigno Pete, sempre pronto a lamentarsi per le mattane della madr...more
Nov 27, 2011 Alison rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alison by: Professor Craig Watson
I'm re-reading this for the first time since college, when it was one of the books we studied in Craig Watson's "Contemporary American Novel" course at Monmouth College. I know I liked it back then but I barely remember it.

In the process of moving from Illinois to Iowa over the past several days, I've been going through many a dilemma about keeping/donating/throwing things away. Finally, I have decided that if I'm going to keep *anything*, it has to be for a specific reason that I can state alo...more
Kim Fay
My three-star rating is more an indication of how much I enjoyed this book than whether or not I thought it was well done. It's well written, but geez, it is tedious. I get that that's the point of Beattie's style, capture a certain kind of tediousness (aka, reality), and maybe if I had read this in the 1970s when the book came out, I would have been impressed. Unfortunately, I read it in the twenty-first century, and too many times while I was reading it, I thought, this reminds me of someone's...more
I liked this book even better on a second read. Having read most of Beattie's later work one really appreciates the simplistic beauty of the prose on display here. Hard to believe this is out-of-print. "Chilly Scenes of Winter" should be read by anyone who even remotely relates to "The Catcher in the Rye." And who doesn't? As usual, Beattie evokes immense warmth and compassion without the use of much description. What's most amazing is how a book written in the '70's and one which relies so heav...more
Firmly anchored in the era it was written -- early 70s -- possibly dated, but nevertheless, pretty good. The ending is what redeems it, and makes me remember it fondly.
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Ann Beattie (born September 8, 1947) is an American short story writer and novelist. She has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to that of Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She holds an undergraduate degree from Americ...more
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