For the first time in a decade, the writer that John Updike credited with creating 'an entirely different kind of short story' has pinned life by the pen and offered her readers a new piece of work. Cool, ironic, sharply observed and witty, but underpinned with a quiet, barely-breathed tenderness, these stories - mainly set in Maine - explore the glancing epiphanies of daily life. A teenage girl, spending the summer with her aunt and uncle while her mother recovers from surgery, tries to makes sense of some of life's curiosities, such as what magical realism is supposed to be, exactly; a woman having an affair with her daughter's best friend's boyfriend creates a list of their 'pluses and minuses' in an attempt to win the man. Conversations that start as literary name drops turn into aching explorations of joy, generosity and anguish; sudden deaths in peaceful plant nurseries reveal suspicion and privately pursued desires. Beattie's voice is mesmeric and her lessons are lightly taught. The State We're In is a pitch-perfect meditation on that ultimate non-sequitur, a human life.
State We're In Maine Stories
eBook (08 Oct 2015)
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