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The New Yorker Stories

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  115 reviews
When Ann Beattie began publishing short stories in The New Yorker in the mid-seventies, she emerged with a voice so original, and so uncannily precise and prescient in its assessment of her characters’ drift and narcissism, that she was instantly celebrated as a voice of her generation. Her name became an adjective: Beattiesque. Subtle, wry, and unnerving, she is a master ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published November 16th 2010 by Scribner (first published 2010)
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Kimber
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-fiction
I am half-ashamed to have not previously have read Ann Beattie. Her writing has an amazing quality of being humorous but profound at the same time, of having pathos and lightness at once. The characters have such a light touch, and yet they astounded me in their realness. (Compare these short stories in their aliveness to some full length novels filled with half-dead people.)

A Beattie story is character driven, slice of life vignettes which are really modern-day commentaries on relationship dyna
...more
Courtney
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was my first introduction to Ann Beattie, and I was blown away. The first stories in this collection are among the best that I've ever read. She captures the qualities of the 70's so profoundly, that I feel like I now know everything I need to about that era (which I'm sure is not true). The stories are simple and quiet, but packed with frank emotion and human flaw. They are truly beautiful. ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am a late bloomer to Ann Beattie's austere and edgy short stories, and it proved favorable . Her minimalist style is for the veteran reader, and for those of us willing to ponder their poignancy like we would a numinous painting whose meaning is often beyond its containment and yet embedded there. Her photographic eye for surface details expose cracks and tensions that open to a scalding world of suffocation and denial. Her characters circumvent the truth by poking at it peripherally or trying ...more
J
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: depressing
Elegantly written stories about rich, educated, depressed people who are mostly divorced or in unhappy relationships. I found most of the characters cynical, apathetic and shallow. They seemed to dabble in things b/c they wanted to fit in, rather than experience them.

Every female character seemed repressed, haughty and stuck between traditional values and romantic fantasies. I had a hard time liking or relating to them, although they are realistic.

I do think Beattie is an excellent writer, but
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Is it me? No. I like short stories.

Maybe it is the idea of compiling ALL stories into one volume. Annoyances get compounded, and things that don't work for me as a reader get magnified.

Ann Beattie has won award with her stories. But they drive me crazy. Her characters are so damn passive. They live unfulfilling, slightly puzzling lives but never DO anything about them. They aren't even that interesting. No. Interesting happens to the people around them, who are leaving them to live those lives
...more
Kathrin
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Bailed on this collection around 20% in. I was drudging my way through it and said to myself this morning, that I will try one more story and if I didn't like it, I will let this book go. The stories revolve to much around the same topics and topics that I am not interested in reading. Pretty much every couple in these stories is divorced.... I know a lot of people are getting divorced, but is this all we need to talk about? I donated the book to the library in the hotel that I am staying in rig ...more
Josh Ang
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ann Beattie’s minimalist writing takes some getting used to. The sparsity of her prose makes it look deceptively simple and flat, because it does not draw attention to itself – it reads so naturally that you tend to take it for granted. But when you really pay attention, you will be rewarded. Whenever I read a Beattie story, at-first seemingly innocuous passages jump out at me that make me scurry for a highlighter or pen to note it down. A turn of phrase, a sharp witty description, lines of dial ...more
Eric
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
To enjoy an Ann Beattie story, you must first absorb a sort of family tree which describes the relationships among members of a non-traditional family. For example, Man A's Mother (B), is dying. A is recently divorced from C, and has taken up with D (a young college student). E is C's son from a prior marriage, who still lives with A because he gets along better with A than with C. F is D's dog, Newton, who has very specific habits and quirks of his own.

Once these relationships are set in one's
...more
Michelle
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I love Ann Beattie’s writing style. It’s right up my alley – direct, unadorned, raw, beautiful. The ability to write a poignant, complete short story is astounding to me and Ms. Beattie clearly has a gift. This is a collection of all her New Yorker pieces spanning thirty years. While I tend to love a solid book of short stories I’ve come to the conclusion that a 500+ page collection is a bit much for me, especially when the stories aren’t linked to one another. What is also evident is the author ...more
Huyen Chip
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to finish the book, but after 2 years of trying, I gave up. One must be a masochist to enjoy Ann Beattie's writing. ...more
Judy
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it
This is more of a 3.5 book, but we don't have that option. A collection of 48 short stories, many of them very short, that were published in the New Yorker between 1974 and 2006. Most of the stories involve depressed people who are also rich, well-educated, and white. And most of them seem to be in an unfulfilling relationship, a bad marriage, or they are divorced. I know too many of these people in my real life so I was familiar with the type. These stories, in my view, are best read a few at a ...more
Cara Brackstone
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Anne Beattie is obviously a skilful writer and managed to capture a lot of realism in her short stories. But I was bored by the content and characters, who were mainly middle aged people unhappy with their relationships, doing dull and ordinary things. Persevered to finish, would not pick up again.
Cynthia
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
These stories are so elegantly and beautifully written but some are quite depressing. I am slowly reading each one. It will probably take me quite some time to finish this. I find it difficult to read some of these stories at this time of year and many hit home a little too closely for comfort.
Ciara
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
more like 2.5 stars.

all i really have to say is that i am so relieved that i am finished reading this book. i got it from the library to read over the holiday break in boston, but i didn't have as much downtime to read there as i'd expected, & the book is so much longer than i'd anticipated. over 500 pages & i don't know how many stories...i'll estimate pi times infinity because that's what it felt like. then the library overdue notice system got weird & i wasn't informed that the book was due u
...more
Ashvin
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Update: I'm reading stories from this intermittently. They're all basically the same, so one can't really read them all at once. However, they're nice to come back to once in a while. I would suggest that you try and find a story for free online somewhere and, if you like it, consider getting this book. Just don't expect to like any of the characters.


Just started reading it, and am liking it so far. It's a collection of short stories that is well regarded by many critics. Personally, I like tha
...more
Andy Miller
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of Ann Beattie short stories that were published in the New Yorker magazine between 1974 and 2006. They are autobiographical in that Beattie writes of characters that are the same age as she when she writes the story and the stories are set during the time of the writing. So the book starts with stories about 20 somethings dealing with the changing times of the 70s and ends with stories set in the 2000s about 50something characters that deal with issues such as aging parents ...more
Jim
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ann Beattie Fans, Minimalist Readers
This is quite a collection of short stories over the years that Ann had published in The New Yorker. I had read maybe a third of the stories in her short story collections. Some of the stories are great and some are just okay. For most all of her stories there is the strong and abrupt ending, fast introduction to characters, smooth flowing language that makes you reread a paragraph and say wow, how did she write that in so few words.

After some stories you wonder why she even wrote that story, w
...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Apr 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Ann Beattie is a very respected short-story writer, so maybe the fault is with me, not her, but I didn't like this book at all. I read three stories and just gave up, because only one of them (the most recent) was even mildly interesting to me. The main reason that short fiction no longer has mass popularity is that it's been replaced by 30-60 minute TV episodes. But another reason might be because it's hard to find short fiction that would appeal to more than just the literary elite. The three ...more
Jessica
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I was introduced to Ann Beattie in a literature class. I was initially annoyed at the introduction because I have never felt connected to short fiction and have always preferred novels. However, I found myself feeling very passionate about the one story I read of Beattie's and bought this book to find out more. I really enjoy her unique writing style and her interesting, close to home, themes. Many, if not most, of her stories cover dysfunctional relationships with characters you generally hate. ...more
Nick Duretta
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
When she's firing on all cylinders, Ann Beattie is amazing. At the very least, she's always an artful artist, with an unerring sense of humanity and a limitless imagination. Her early stories, however, often seemed too arbitrary for me -- she assembles all the ingredients, but then just throws them down on the canvas without much of a purpose or pattern. Events succeed other events which succeed other events, and then the story ends. Many times I couldn't see the point. Her later stories, howeve ...more
Steve
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I wish I could like Ann Beattie. In the forward, one reviewer called her voice “original and precise”. I can see the precision in her writing, and the clarity of her characters. But I could not sustain interest past the first few stories. Part of it is my fault. Right now, I really have a preference for stories with some humor or some science fiction. This world is sad and oppressive enough. I’d like to hear from someone who has read this and liked it. You could certainly make a case for stories ...more
Wright
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars.

I think these stories are best read one or two at a time with other readings in between, more like how they would have been read when originally published in the New Yorker magazine. The frequent infidelity, alcohol abuse, and decaying relationships throughout the stories when reading one story after the next became too depressing for me, overshadowing the unique qualities and perspective of Beattie's writing.

I read about half the book and then finished the second half a few months lat
...more
Aaron Jacobs
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
More like 3.5 stars but good enough that I rounded up. The stories from the late '70s are excellent, the most successful in this collection. By the mid-80s she'd pared down her style and these stories, all of which are five or six pages, read more like vignettes lacking the emotional heft of her earlier work. From then on, the stories are hit or miss, though even when she misses it's not by that much. The writing is strong throughout. ...more
Connie
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am a long time fan of this author and I was excited to to see this thick book full of her stories. I took this book on vacation to the beach a couple of months ago and really enjoyed reading all of these stories. It was interesting to have such a long range of time (early 70's until present day) of stories...her overall style remains the same throughout the decades. Definitely recommend. ...more
Frank
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ann Beattie has a wonderful gift for observation. These stories are beautifully and delicately crafted, a la JC Oates. They invite concentrated reflection. Yet they are more like a series of studies than a collection of short stories. The unremitting focus on lonely, broken people and aimless drifters first wearies, then enervates.
Sharon
Jun 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Classic Beattie. Her stories capture perfectly the jaded ennui of NYC residents over a span of four decades. A satisfying collection for literary junkies who take a sort of anthropological approach to reading contemporary fiction set in NYC.
Elizabeth Kennedy
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
In brief, this collection includes sad stories about unhappy people in disintegrating (or disintegrated) relationships. Beattie's minimalistic, sharp style held my interest though. ...more
Chris
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's taken me more than six months to read all these stories mostly because the 1980s stories were boring or frustrating. Most of the 70s stories and a handful from the 90s and 2000s were brilliant. They all fit into that brand of realism where not much happens plotwise but you have to take for granted complex character webs to enjoy the story or gleam anything from the characters' motivations. And what are the motivations of most of these characters? The early stories are so stripped down that ...more
Dieuwke
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-ish, short-stories, buy
Great short stories, to be read one at a time. I started off with an early one, then jumped to one of her last ones, to see if I could detect any change (that could supposedly be called "growth", though who am I to judge?) but although there's stories that resonate more and there's ones that simply resonate less with me, it looks like she was a winner right from the beginning.
Only point of critique, as inevitable with a collection this big, is that it's too much to read at once. So I haven't rea
...more
Andrew
When you have a volume of short stories (or poems or essays, for that matter), the shortcomings of an author become stark in a way they wouldn't if you were reading each story individually. And so while a short collection of Ann Beattie stories can be a series of lovely, witty, bone-spare meditations on the minutiae of daily life, a 500-page tome is off-putting. This isn't the sort of book you should read cover to cover (which is the only way I ever read, to be honest), it's the sort you should ...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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