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Goodnight, Beautiful Women

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  553 ratings  ·  122 reviews
"This is an extraordinary book of stories. Many of the characters are anchored to coastal Maine, but a particular quality of wildness animates nearly all of them. The stories are energetic, often mysterious, and beautifully written, and they will stay in your memory long after you finish the book."—Charles Baxter

Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected s
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Grove Press
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Goodnight, Beautiful Women made for what felt like dark and heavy reading. It's a brief collection of short stories mostly set in contemporary US. The themes running though the stories are dark: sexual abuse and assault, serious mental health problems, abusive relationships, etc... And the take on these issues make them even darker -- the characters' reactions are not always what one would expect and often pushed me close to the borders of my comfort zone. But it's not a bad thing to feel rattle ...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 The setting is Coastal Maine and the stories feature women of different ages, flawed women who often make bad choices. Many times they are their own worst enemies. Many of these stories take an unexpected turn, some made me uncomfortable. The endings are mostly open ended, ending abruptly in some, left to the reader's interpretation. Yet, the descriptive touches, the ordinariness of common things again stories that are anything but, make these so memorable.

A very assured first novel, gritty
Elyse  Walters
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Update: Congratulations..........This book is a finalist for the 2017 Story Prize!!!
Well Deserved!!!

"He pulled her into the bed of the truck, spread out his coat and Joni lay back
and propped her leg against the cool of the wheel well. And finally, after the whole
day of thinking on it, she guided him inside her. She felt like scattered iron filings,
and Jack was the magnet that pulled them together."

"Crazy, she thinks, how she's afraid he will pull her in. Jack had started to throw
things into t
Angela M
Jun 11, 2016 marked it as abandoned-not-for-me
I'm giving up on this after reading the first five stories in this collection and part of the sixth. It's not that I wasn't moved by these characters because I was. It's not that the writing isn't good because it is. It's just that the dark and sometimes disturbing nature of the stories pushed me to the edge of my comfort level and I'd rather read something else . Since I did not finish it , I won't rate it or give more of a review than this.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic/Grove Press and NetGalley.
May 25, 2016 added it
Recommended to Carol by: Esil
E-galley provided through the generosity of Grove Atlantic and Netgalley published June 7, 2016.

The publication date for Goodnight, Beautiful Women had passed by and I suspected Grove Atlantic was not providing access to this title any longer when lo and behold an acceptance email arrived.

Short story collections are often troublesome for me. Either I’m dangling at a precipice or scratching my head at the end of each. This surprises me, as I have no trouble with ambiguous endings. I relish the t
Debbie "DJ"
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't read many short stories, yet found myself completely immersed in these. Anna Noyes is one heck of a writer. These stories are deep, often dark, and disturbing. And yet they go to the very core of what some women suffer in their relations with men. Some of the stories connect, while others do not. I've actually started a second reading, as the powerful messages they impart were easy for me to miss when I wasn't sure if they were connecting to another story. The first story centers around ...more
Larry H
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for making it available.

It's amazing how much power a short story can have, how much emotion and plot and imagery and detail can be packed into a finite number of pages. It's one of the things I love so much about short stories—while, obviously, I love reading novels, and have been absolutely dazzled and bowled over by many books I've read, I've
DNF at 40%

I just don't think I'm in the right place to be reading this collection of short stories right now, as they just aren't working for me. The title hooked me, but I didn't expect this collection devoted to women and the struggles/hardships they face to be so dreary.

The first words that come to mind for what I've read so far are dark, heavy, depressing. Add that to the fact that the stories often ended rather abruptly, with no true ending or closure left me a bit unsettled.

I'm used to r
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
“It was difficult picking out appropriate clothing for a woman who’d just lost her husband. She combed her hair until it sparked with static. Joni, who once cried over a Folgers Coffee commercial, hadn’t cried yet. This frustrated her, like a sneeze that wouldn’t come.”

Those lines from the first story in this book, in which a husband disappears into the quarry, set the tone for this short-story collection. It's a dark one, told with sparkling and lucid prose and not devoid of some - albeit despe
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a haunting collection of stories. All are dark and speak of despair and struggle, of hope and endurance. As the title suggests, each story involves women at various ages and stages in their life. There are over protective parents trying to keep their children from harm and parents who “only saved me from foster care for the welfare cheques.” Many touch on life changing moments, of nature versus nurture, of mental illness and the effect it has on a family, an individual.

The writing is ri
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
What a disappointment this collection of short stories was. It was macabre (and I like macabre) but in a very disjointed fashion. Mostly I would get to the end of a story and wonder 'why?' and 'what was the point of that?'

In the foreword of Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King talks about writing short stories to the effect that with a short story you have to take the most direct route; with a novel you can explore all the side streets. Anna Noyes would do well to take note of this advice.

Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it

Noyes gives these Snapshots of Women in Crises which made me sad and wishful that I was also getting snapshots of these women in happy moments so that I get a more complete picture, otherwise I might get the idea that Noyes' women are always sad and always in crisis. And I know from being a woman (yes - awe please) that aside from our dark moments, we also have our light ones.

Noyes writing reminded me of Adam Johnson so I was a more than happy girl. Sadly the themes explored reminded me of Raymo
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars: The Maine’s State Chamber of Commerce won’t be noting this collection of short stories as a promotional item. Bleak, sad, depressing, and hopeless are some of the emotions one feels reading these beautifully written and crafted stories. It’s summer as I write this review, and generally I’m drawn to the “light and airy” novel. This is NOT that. Yet, the writing is magnificent and the stories are alluring, although gloomy.

All stories are women centered. Each character is either born in
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This collection started out innocuously enough with the first three stoic, elegant stories, but Noyes woke me out of my peaceful short-story slumber with "Drawing Blood." I was hooked on her seemingly clear and bright prose; Noyes does pull her punches, but in a manner calculated to leave the reader to fill in the blanks, and these self-drawn conclusions were often startling. Her stories are almost like little games you're playing for the first time, figuring out the rules as you go. Standouts i ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The women in this collection of stories are raw and believable. They aren't 'ideal' and that is why I loved Goodnight, Beautiful Women. Not at all the sort of stories you bury you nose in for a beach read, because you don't tread lightly here. "These days naked she feels all head, where the thoughts are whirring. It is a burden to carry and soap this creature body, all of its many parts. Coccyx, tailbone, scapula."
Sometimes you just need to read something heavy, about women whose thinking has tu
3.5 stars

"Every day I had nice, quiet thoughts. Kept my shadow self at bay. She was there, in the mirror. Frenzied and dangerous, her body a cloud of buzzing beetles."*

These eleven short stories were portraits of women and girls who were not in control of what was happening to them in the snippets of time we met them. The reasons for this sometimes were in their pasts – mental or physical abuse, neglect or abandonment; other times it was the discovery of their own darker side which they struggle
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I insanely loved this book. Dark and sad yet beautiful writing.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
These stories were just not that interesting. I found myself caring less and less about them as I struggled through the book. If I hadn't won an ARC from a giveaway listed on Goodreads I probably wouldn't have read them all.

I couldn't tell if the author was going for magical realism, desperate characters, or both, or neither. She seemed to come close to some of these themes, but she never quite made it clear where here stories were landing. I love short stories, but I couldn't tell exactly why
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know what is really hard and terrible? Being a woman. Also apparently living in Maine.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes is a debut collection of eleven short stories featuring girls and women living in Maine.

Most of the young women in this collection are doomed by circumstances or life or bad choices. The tone of these stories is dark and melancholy - you will feel that failure and depression is seemingly just around every corner and no redemption is in sight. The quality of the descriptions and emotions of the women and girls portrayed is well done and notable. Most of th
Kama Post
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of vaguely interconnected short stories featuring women in varying stages of their lives, experiencing varying degrees of latent dissatisfaction. Many reviewers use the words "dark" and "depressing" in their reviews, but I deeply disagree. Noyes captures the undercurrents of life in a glass jar, pokes holes in the lid, and lets us peer in with one eye closed. There is beauty in every one of these stories. A profound beauty that could be mistaken for sadness because it is so close ...more
Lara Ryan
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
Before learning anything about this book, I first read that Goodnight, Beautiful Women was set among the mysterious lives of New England women (“moving along the Maine Coast”). Since I’m a New England girl myself, who is infatuated with the Maine Coast, it seemed like an undeniable fit.

Then I started reading the book. I quickly learned that it was a collection of short stories. Stories willed with darkness. The writing is quite intelligent and more literary as most short stories are. Because it’
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-2016, kindle
Dark and rather wonderful.
Andy Miller
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting collection of short stories about women who live in coastal towns in New England. They are "local" women often living hardscrabble contrasted with the women who vacation or summer in their towns. Some of my favorites:
I read "Treelaw" twice, a testament to the story's nuance and twists. Early in the story the narrator takes her daughter to a country store and sees Mandy "When she spotted me, I looked quickly away so we had a chance to pretend we didn't recognize each other
Ericka Seidemann
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Goodnight, Beautiful Women is a debut collection of eleven interconnected short narratives all revolving around young girls and burgeoning women in coastal Maine. I would not call this a collection of short stories; rather, they are brief scenes that give an overall sense of the confusion of desires of young women on the verge of understanding the motives of men.

The writing in this collection is intense. Noyes' imagery in these short narratives creates piercing anticipation. The scenes she creat
Lesia Joukova
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 63% :(

Unfortunately, this book left no lasting impression on me. I have been at quite a conflict with myself through the book and I stopped reading more than halfway through the stories. The author favors short sentences that leave the impression of excerpts. Her way of telling the story of her many heroines is such that despite their unfortunate circumstances I was unable to connect with any of the charac
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection. It's reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge, not just geographically (nearly all of the stories take place in a hard-scrabble Maine town), but in the way you have the feeling all of these characters' stories are linked, though Noyes doesn't link them explicitly as Strout does.

They're also beautifully written and poignant. What I loved most about them is the different kinds of love and relationships depicted--love between mothers and daughters, stepdaughters and stepfa
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I was a giveaway winner of this ARC book. "Goodnight Beautiful Women" I would give this a 3.5. It is comprised of 11 short stories. Most are narrated in the first person. Most of the towns take place in towns along the East Coast. A few of the stories look like they could overlap. For example in three of the stories part of the plot takes place in or around a "Quarry". I found that i liked some of the stories more than others. A couple were a bit confusing to me. My favorite story was called "We ...more
Artemisia Hunt
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the measures of a good short story is finding characters who have the ability to draw you into their inner lives in just a few pages. Not all of the characters in Goodnight Beautiful Women are ones we can love, but are probably still ones we can relate to. Their flaws and their foibles, their self-doubt and over-confidence, their innocence and their craftiness are all on display as they struggle with life in sometimes harsh and unforgiving situations and locales. Author Anna Noyes has mas ...more
Kathleen Gray
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nicely written book of short stories. Short stories are a difficult sell, particularly when they appear to be possibly interconnecting and are collected in one volume- but interconnecting stories actually are a novel. These women aren't all equally interesting and you might not find them all likable or agree with their choices but there are positives here. My quibble is that I would have liked more of a sense of place. If you like short stories then this is a good volume to try. Remember to thin ...more
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