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Distortions

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  248 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Haunting and disturbingly powerful, these stories established Ann Beattie as the most celebrated new voice in American fiction and an absolute master of the short-story form. Beattie captures perfectly the profound longings that came to define an entire generation with insight, compassion, and humor.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Vintage (first published May 1st 1983)
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Andrew
Anne Beattie is one of that school of '70s and '80s writers who painted ordinary America with miniature-level detail, and who marked American realism's last bright point before its long, steady decline into mawkish middle-class self-obsession. Beattie's stories are, above all else, cold and sad and floaty-- a style that was taken to extremes of shittiness by people like Tao Lin. If Anne Beattie was writing about me reading Anne Beattie, she'd sound like this:

"Andrew spent a lot of time at home i
...more
Sarah
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Some really good stories. I liked all of them, actually, which seems rare in a collection of nineteen stories. All of them seem to be about people who are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 'A Platonic Relationship' was my favorite.
Tao
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason, Mary Robison
I like this book. These stories are not like her other stories. Some of them a little. These stories are funny, sarcastic, and about depressed and lonely people. I enjoyed it.
Simon A. Smith
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
This one eeked out a 4-star review from me at the end. I liked the first 2 stories a lot and then I read about 3 or 4 in a row that I just couldn't seem to follow or understand (unnecessarily confusing and capricious). Her style - her plots - ricochet all over the place, and it's hard to remain focused, BUT the meat of what's there at the heart, the ambition of her ideas, is worth the work. The collection ends with a bunch of strong stories mostly about women who have lost their moorings and are ...more
Jeff Hoiland
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i like this so much. have been feeling maybe 'unexcited' or something by reading recently. read some of these stories and feel very 'excited' about reading and other things. 'excited/unexcited' doesnt seem like quite the right word.
Chris
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good!
Jay
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ann Beattie writes like a machine. I read that she can write for an 18-hour stretch. She can write a 30-page short story in a day. A novel in a week. Here is my favorite tidbit from the wonder who is Ann Beattie: as a writer from the seventies she found it difficult, the transition from writing on the typewriter to writing on the computer . In fact, at first she was so comfortable with typewriter keyboard, that she felt the need to connect it electronically to her computer.

But that was then. T
...more
Joseph
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Funny and poignant. That sums up this collection of short stories. Starting with Dwarf House, which just happens to be about Dwarfs. That definitely set a tone of humor weighted with sadness as a man acts as go-between between his mother and his dwarf brother. This sets a great tone for the rest of the book. Some stories have a compressed quality to them as well, such as Marshall's Dog. The story feels like more is going on than is actually on the page. I'd like to see how she handles a novel le ...more
Scott Adelson
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Profound, intense and often funny, yet submerged in a malaise that defined an era, Ann Beattie’s debut collection reads fresh in today’s fragmented and technologically fueled “here, but apart” world. The usual workaday aspects of characters’ lives are tinged with the strange, as simple worlds want to be. With the mundane functioning as petri dish, Beattie grows and exposes our odd attempts and failures at connection and meaning (divorce and adultery are themes here) in a middle-class world. Publ ...more
Jeremiah
Oct 16, 2014 added it
Shelves: fiction
"He has been feeling lately that something good is going to happen. There is a visual distortion that accompanies the feeling; he sees, imagines he sees, sunesets when there could not possibly be sunsets. He sees them at midnight, when the moon shines over the water, then burns sun-bright, and the birds sing. Even the seagulls are quiet at midnight, so he is not just imagining that one thing is another. He is just plain inventing. Why is he doing that?"
Heather
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I think this is my favorite work of Beattie...
Louis
I love Beattie's stories. This is, I think, an early collection of hers.
Ivan
Jan 15, 2010 rated it liked it
"Fancy Flights" and "Downhill" are standouts.
Richard Jespers
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another great collection. I liked the ones in the second half better than those in the first. Especially fine are “Wolf Dream” and “Wanda’s.” Very 1970s yet timeless and literary in quality.
Julia
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
another 'must reread' sort of thing, especially since i don't think i absorbed quite as much from this as i could have, being, you know, fourteen at the time
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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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