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Walks with Men: A Novella
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Walks with Men: A Novella

2.83 of 5 stars 2.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,004 ratings  ·  162 reviews
"He'd tell me anything, anything, as long as the information went unattributed, as long as no one knew he and I had even met." Such is the deal Jane, Harvard valedictorian fresh out of college, strikes with Neil, the intoxicating writer 20 years her senior. It is 1980 in New York City, and the two quickly become lovers, living together in a Chelsea brownstone. Jane is infa ...more
Audio CD, 2 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by AudioGO (first published 2010)
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This book is 102 pages long, and I thought it would never end. The main character is a pretty, Harvard-educated wunderkind who falls for a rich, manipulative man who speaks entirely in one-liners. Every plot twist is either ridiculously cliché ((view spoiler)) or totally bizarre ((view spoiler)). To distract you from the ...more
what was meant to be profound. insightful. and romantic. turned out to be trite. infantile. and somber.

i am not fond of books that romanticize abusive relationships and abusive people.
Everyone has had a mentor-as-lover at some point. If not, one should. Ideally the mentor-as-lover should appear before one turns thirty, when neural pathways are more like rambling and rather wistful dirt roads than the intricate super highways that deliver us to our doom, more or less, as older adults. (This is a Life Tip that could have been delivered by the protagonist's mentor-as-lover. At first I nod. Hmmmm: it seems wise. And then I want to punch whomever said it for his/her arrogance, fo ...more
Elizabeth Ruth
If you've ever slept with or loved an asshole in spite of yourself, then this book is for you.

Many critics didn't like the narrator's detachment, or accused this book as romanticizing abuse. What they're missing is that when you are in your early twenties, detachment and romanticizing abuse (which pretty much go together) and being swept up and easily impressed by worldliness and style and bohemianism are often what it's all about, red flags be dammed. All of which frequently lead to sleeping wi
7/9/2010: This is a mystifying story...either I'm too old for its charms or require too much explanation in my fiction, but when I finished it I was so busy scratching my head trying to figure out what happened that I might have missed the point. Anyway, the writing is wonderful, and the tone is perfect. Many images will stick in my mind for a long time: the white robe pooling on the floor; the impossibility of sliding out of a diner banquette after a piece of bad news has been delivered; the ex ...more
I really could not get into this book at all. I completely could not sympathize with, or relate to, the characters. I didn't enjoy the plot. I didn't really understand the purpose of the book. The writing style was distracting--lots of parantheses, changes in point of view, flashbacks all over the place, words that appeared to be used just to show off, and brief little paragraphs that didn't really fit in anywhere. Not my style at all.
This was a total waste of my time. This book was so random and all over the place. There wasn't a storyline. Her "walks with men" were very dysfunctional and weird. I have so many unanswered questions. Where did her husband disappear to? The ashes? Ben and the train incident?? Her mother? Her relationship with her friends? I'm so confused. I'm just glad it's over and super glad it was only 102 pages long.
Alyssa Knickerbocker
I felt like I shouldn't like this book but I did. I love novellas--this one's like a long and luxurious short story, and the ending did just what a good ending should: it felt both inevitable and surprising. (I think that's a Margaret Atwood rule for short story endings.)
Ket Lamb
Walks With Men is a wisp of a book about a famous-for-fifteen-minutes, young, female, who has a relationship with a manipulative older man in New York. "The deal was this: he'd tell me anything, anything, as long as the information went unattributed, as long as no one knew he and I had any real relationship." With an agreement like that, one expects to learn something remarkable about men. Instead, we whip through a novella about a self-absorbed guy who barely tells us anything, and what he does ...more
Pret-ty great. Moves along swiftly (I read it in an afternoon (and a night)), engaging all the way through, great characters. A really interesting relationship, where the guy's an asshole, but she knows it, and calls him on it, and yet they're still together. Seemed symbolic/metaphoric, yet this was pure realism. At first Beattie seemed to do a lot of work to explain why/how they were together, and I paid super close attention to all this, read lines over, etc., but in the end that didn't really ...more
Well, this was a weird little book. It's noticeable: hot pink piping on the covers, really small size. It sounds like a secret autobio, but I didn't really care enough to dig around and find out who the famous man "Jane" lived with really was. It started seeming like a story about a friend who's fashionable and popular but makes really bad choices so knowing her is like getting to watch a train wreck, again and again, but it wasn't really that interesting and the narrative structure got weird so ...more
I heard this is THE local author to know, so I was excited to get my hands on this one. Short and sweet? A woman tells about her many varied relationships with men: her drunk step-father, her gay downstairs neighbor, her lover-turned-husband-turned-missing-person, her Buddhist ex-boyfriend who changed his name to "Goodness". The overall effect is a little amusing and a lotta annoying. It's as if the narrator's speaking through a scratchy, distant PA system so you can't really understand what's g ...more
Bianca Sarah
Despite its critical acclaim, I found this novel--if you can even call it that--to be disappointing on all fronts. It is choppy and seems hacked together. The characters are vague sketches of people who the author seems incapable of making seem realistic or engaging, the relationship dynamics are insulting (Women have to watch their man's every move! Older men only date younger women to manipulate and ruin them!),and ultimately it reads like the scrap notes of a book that hasn't reached its seco ...more
Choppy, overwritten, and underwhelming.
Jeff Zell
Jane writer comes to New York as a young woman and enters into an affair with a man twice her age. He is a writer and well connected in the publishing community. She lands a screen writing job that earns her an academy award. She moves in with Neil. One day she finds Neil's wife, whom she thought Neil was divorced from sitting on her front steps. There, Jane learns that Neil is still married. The wife divorces him. Jane and Neil get married. Then Neil disappears. He is presumed dead, but no body ...more
This book has no plot. Nothing of value is ever learned. The title 'Walks with men' would suggest we will learn something about men and their behaviour but nothing of this sort happens. Some reviews suggested it reveals the human psyche/nature/something but if there was such a point to this book it flew right by me. None of the characters developed or had arcs of any kind. Events(if the boring things that are described can be called that) happen in a hacked, chopped and put together sort of way. ...more
Ann Beattie’s new novella starts with a little idea: Jane Jay Costner, who recently dropped out of college as a radical gesture and now lives on a farm in Vermont with a hippie boyfriend, joins up with an older man who promises to teach her how to live. Even after certain illusions about him are shattered, Jane stays with Neil. She makes fun of her devotion, but never disowns it. I really enjoyed this short and seductively superficial story about a woman who doesn’t come to any final conclusions ...more
Laur Carp
I found Ann Beattie's book rather interesting, and a quick read. There seems to be a lot of characters squeezed into a novella - which caused a bit of an issue keeping them all straight. I think the overall idea, romanticizing the bad boy, is an idea that is, both, popular and familiar. I think almost every woman can empathize with the idea of falling for the wrong boy, and still going after him despite knowing the fact we will be hurt in the end; however, this narrator stays with her bad boy al ...more
I often caught myself wondering aloud, "WTF?" Beattie lost me more than a few times with her sprinkling of random events and sudden voice changes. I hoped for more character development and growth. This novella lacks more than it offers.
This is actually the first Beattie book I've read. Maybe I should have started with something stronger (suggestions?). Some nice breezy prose but I'll admit that I wanted it to be sexier.
He gave me an ice pick, one time, and put an ice cube on the breadboard and set in front of me a photograph of Bernini's Daphne and Apollo.

-Ann Beattie, Walks with Men
Brianne Sperber
If you wanted to read The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. but haven't read it: skip it and read Beattie's novella. Seriously. It's way better written and has the whole smug-man thing down. Makes you wonder if someone stole someone else's idea...

Beattie's short novel is a total page-turner and masterfully crafted. I've yet to read any of her stories and instead picked this up as I'm desperate for short novels to help me finish my "52 books in 2014" challenge. Hers is a wonderfully captivating, hear
This genre (we could call it "published in the New Yorker, or may as well have been") makes me depressed.
An ok narrative, left me empty. wanted more depth.
Brittany Larson
Hmm. Usually this is where I say, "I have many feelings about this book." But actually, I have very few feelings about this one. I was encouraged to read it by a good friend whose opinions I trust, because she thought it was something that any woman who has ever dated an asshole should read. (And oh man have I dated some assholes.)

The novella is a quick read, and is really beautifully written. The author is clearly a very talented writer of prose. That being said, I don't feel that there was an
Richard Hunt
Ann Beattie is synonymous with short stories and The New Yorker. Not knowing the genealogy of this novella, perhaps that's how it started. Regardless, the DNA is evident, her prose is polished, and the setting and premise ring true as a bell.
Not only is the book small and thin - precious is a term often used to describe book packages like this -- but the text/story is presented as a series of vignettes (which while pithy, work against feeling a strong narrative pull). Dip in, dip out - that s
J’ai été attirée par la couverture de ce petit livre d’une centaine de pages exposé en tête d’un des rayonnages de la médiathèque et le nom de l’auteur m’a rappelé l’article que j’avais lu quelques jours plus tôt dans la rubrique Livres de Télérama à propos du dernier livre d’Ann Beattie, Nouvelles du New-Yorker, paru également chez Christian Bourgois.

Je me suis donc lancée dans cette courte histoire, une novella qui nous amène à New York, dans les années 80, en compagnie de Jane, une jeune dipl
Sabra Embury
Only 102 pages, Walks With Men was a quick read, also in part to the fact that the story was presented in a standard, straight-forward way. It read like an extended memoir entry with names changed, a glimpse into the yesteryear of one relationship between a woman and a man, overlapping a new relationship with a different type of man. A young yogi dreamer, for an older, wiser writer. All in the perspective of a young woman fresh from Harvard, moving to Manhattan from a stint in Vermont, finding s ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

As regular readers know, although I don't make a habit of it, I do occasionally enjoy a well-crafted piece of short "literary" fiction, the kind of $20 novella-sized book that I'm usually railing against here; for example, check out the latest from lit veteran Ann Beattie, the '80s character drama Walks Wi
Sep 14, 2010 Ruby rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Beattie, or short stories
Recommended to Ruby by: newspaper review
A slim book easily read but more complex than it seems at first. Jane comes to NYC in 1980 at the vulnerable age of 20+ and meets a 40+ man who wants to devote himself to teaching her the rules of society that show one is clued-in. His rules are more amusing than serious, at least to this reader to whom the rules of society have always been murky. Jane at first thinks there really are such rules but soon realizes the phoniness and superficiality; she stays with it, on and off until finally marri ...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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“Clichés so often befall vain people.” 741 likes
“It's not about having things figured out, or about communicating with other people, trying to make them understand what you understand. It's about a chicken dinner at a drive-in. A soft pillow. Things that don't need explaining.” 26 likes
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