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Chilly Scenes of Winter

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  983 Ratings  ·  100 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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(showing 1-30)
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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
Jun 07, 2009 Núria rated it really liked it  ·  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 it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book never feels clever or exciting. It feels like real life.
Oct 25, 2015 Bert rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this. I loved that it takes place in that time-between, its characters waiting for love, new jobs, the new Dylan album, places to live, something to live for, and that it takes that uncertainty and anticipation as its theme and puts you in that brooding, funny, bleak place with them. It is whimsical and smart and New Yorky, with a new Seventies self-consciousness and tons of cultural references that made me happy, at times reminded me of what Woody Allen was doing back t ...more
João Carlos
Dec 28, 2014 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, favorites
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
I don't know if my review would do anybody any good, but I highly recommend this book mostly because unlike most literary lit you don't need a translator in order to read it. Charles, the main character and his out of work best friend Sam, and his crazy mother and other people in Charles's life. Its nice to read a serious literary book that's not work to read you can relate to these people even its set in 1975.
Jun 21, 2007 lbh. rated it it was amazing
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.
Caitlin Constantine
Dec 29, 2010 Caitlin Constantine rated it it was ok
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
Dec 19, 2012 Janice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Apr 14, 2015 Isabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
P. 285 - "São nove e um quarto. Charles põe a tocar um dos seus álbuns preferidos de sempre: "The New Lost City Ramblers With Cousin Emmy". Na capa, Emmy tem a boca aberta, os lábios pintados de escarlate. Parece a mãe dele a ser içada da banheira. Charles levanta-se e faz avançar a agulha na faixa "Chilly Scenes of Winter". Canta, Emmy."
Amanda Steinhoff
Nov 20, 2012 Amanda Steinhoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
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.
Paul Wilner
Mar 08, 2008 Paul Wilner rated it it was amazing
My notice, from the Village Voice in 1976:
Nov 27, 2011 Alison rated it it was ok
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
Dec 15, 2007 Jim rated it it was amazing
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
Remi Zagari
Oct 11, 2014 Remi Zagari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book, copyrighted in 1976, is a story of "twenty-somethings" who are floundering. The economic environment is very challenging, but Charles, the protagonist, actually has a secure government job, although he finds it unfulfilling. You get to know Charles very well, which is not a total positive, although he is a decent man, a great friend, and a romantic. Beattie employs two approaches to developing his character. I loved the dialogue, which was often very funny, although sometimes more rep ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, tao-lin
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
Jan 03, 2016 Dona rated it it was amazing
This was the first hardback book I ever bought, and it was purchased with money from my paltry salary at my first job after I quit grad school in the 1970s. Before that I could afford to buy only paperbacks. I remember feeling a rush of excitement in the bookstore because I had found a new novel by a young author who validated me at a time when I was a bit lost and feeling like an outsider. Even today I still love this novel, and I remember how important, how helpful, Ann Beattie was to me in th ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Jeremiah added it
Shelves: fiction
"It occurs to Charles that songs are always appropriate. No matter what record is played, it is always applicable. Once, on a date in high school, when he was going to tell his date he loved her, Elvis Presley came on the radio singing, 'Loving You.' It always happens: politicians are always crooks, records are always applicable to the situation. Charles shrugs off his sweater. Martha and the Vandellas start to sing 'Heat Wave.' Charles laughs."
Jan 12, 2014 Wesley rated it it was ok
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?
Jun 04, 2013 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donne, americana
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.
Misti Rainwater-Lites
Nov 22, 2012 Misti Rainwater-Lites rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 01, 2007 rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jan 03, 2009 Leslie rated it it was amazing
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.
May 06, 2014 Rafa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Pero hubo algún tiempo donde los jóvenes no estuvieran desencantados? Entiendo por qué a Tao Lin le gusta tanto.
Aug 26, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
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 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the depressed
I liked it very much. Actually, I'm looking forward to reading it again later.
Jun 20, 2007 Myfanwy rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorite books--and definitely my favorite Beattie book.
Miles Ross
Apr 08, 2009 Miles Ross rated it it was amazing
i hope i read this book again.
Jeff Hoiland
Mar 06, 2013 Jeff Hoiland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Jared T. Fischer
Oct 26, 2016 Jared T. Fischer rated it it was amazing
I would teach Chilly Scenes of Winter in college. This book is among the best Ann Beattie works I've read; my other favorite is The Burning House. What a perfect relationship of witty comedy and dark depressing tragedy holds a balance in the book that keeps you reading. Plus this novel is very heavy on dialogue which propels it and makes you enjoy the characters. I always love how divorce is so central to the works of Ann Beattie and also Richard Ford. Ann Beattie does a great job of treating bo ...more
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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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“Hydrox cookies (what happened to them? They used to be so good. Sugar. No doubt they're leaving out sugar)” 1 likes
“When we came in she had her chair sideways, without even looking up to know that it was us, that the doctors had said that sitting and staring at the snow was a waste of time; she should get involved in something. She laughed and told us it wasn't a waste of time. It would be a waste of time just to stare at snowflakes, but she was counting, and even that might be a waste of time, but she was only counting the ones that were just alike” 1 likes
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