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Falling in Place

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  16 reviews
An unsettling novel that traces the faltering orbits of the members of one family from a hidden love triangle to the ten-year-old son whose problem may pull everyone down.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 7th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1980)
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Carol Storm
This is Ann Beattie's second novel, and it's not nearly as good as her legendary debut, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER.

There are some writers who write really well about children, and some who write well about teenagers, and some who write well about family life. Ann Beattie is not one of those people. So much of this novel is devoted to characters she clearly does not like and can not understand -- a fat little boy who reads comic books, for example. It's fair to say Ms. Beattie was never a fat little
...more
Paul
Ah, fantastic. Here, finally, is a book that jumps between a number of characters, chapter by chapter, and still gives each his due. Some of these characters will stick with me for a long time, notably the creepy friend, whose name I'm ironically forgetting. Parker. I wasn't forgetting, I was ironically forgetting. When the climax, as it were, happens, a few characters drop out a bit oddly, but I think it was a conscious choice Beattie made, because everything else was so well crafted and great. ...more
Esther
So I was reading the NYT book section and there was a review of Ann Beattie's new book and the reviewer said why isnt she more famous, very underrated american writer etc. Having never heard of her before reading this, my interest was piqued along with the description of her earlier novels being contemporary stories about everyday troubles, which appeals to me. So I picked this up second hand on Amazon for a couple of bucks and thought I'd give her a whirl.
Well she's not more reknown because sim
...more
James
I was completed floored by this novel. It's obvious from reading the other reviews that Beattie's writing style is not for everyone and it's easy to see why - she refuses to over dramatize the plot or paint her characters with cliches. The book has about eight central characters who float in and out of each other's lives. It gets a little confusing sometimes because Beattie doesn't spend a lot of time laying exposition and the effect reminds me a lot of Raymond Carver (I mean that as a complimen ...more
Nikko
The book was interesting enough to at least get through, but I found the characters, setting, and plot (or lack thereof) to be pretty lame. Just boring people living boring lives, not really doing anything or going anywhere, with lots of references to 80's music and culture. I continued to read it because I thought that it would pick up, and really get interesting but it never did. Happy that I picked this up from a train station bargain bin for 50 cents. Money well spent. I guess.
Allie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Emmet
Absolutely loved this novel. Was drawn mainly to the characters of John, father/husband on the run, in love with Nina - and to Cynthia, the summer school teacher, and to Mary, the daughter who's shot by her brother (who's under the spell of a most horrific "friend," Parker).
Each chapter cycles between and among the characters, turning each of their "quests" upside down and sometimes sideways.
Much about 80s music; that was cool.
And much about inadequacy, the search for love and meaning in a world
...more
Amy
Bit of an Ice Storm/1970s death of the American Dream vibe. At the core of this book is an unhappy family - a cheating husband, an unsatisfied wife, a bored teenager, and a chubby insecure 10 year-old.
Dorothy Howard
This book is sad, wry, and does a good job describing the moral ambiguities in the traditional American family. It describes the falling out of a family, that was barely held together only out of mutual feelings of guilt and obligation. Each member is equally guilty of indifference and neglect, but also very lovable.

The narration style reminded me of Faulkner's 'The Sound and the Fury' a bit. Except that towards the end of the book, a main narrator does usurp the voice of the novel.
Sab
Infidelity in the suburbs in the first blushes of the yuppie 80s. A disenchanted Connecticut suburban dad finds kinship with his daughter's free-spirited summer school teacher and her world of laid-back youthful free love.

Beattie's writing is sharp, evokative, and completist; every time I reread this book I'm transported to that hot 80's summer where every time you turn on the radio it's Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and everything seems better than the life you've got.
Jameswaldo
Really fine book. Liked it a lot.
Miss O.
An excellent, yet unresolved, novel. Both the author and the characters seem lost at the end, which is fitting, I suppose.
Lillian
Westchester NY and suburban CT circa 1980. Dated, but withh a realistic feel to the characters.
Timothy Blenkinsop
stream of boring consciousness.
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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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