The State We're In: Book summary and reviews of The State We're In by Ann Beattie

The State We're In

Maine Stories

by Ann Beattie

The State We're In by Ann Beattie X
The State We're In by Ann Beattie
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  • Published Aug 2015
    224 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

From a multiple prize–winning master of the short form: a stunning collection of brand-new, linked stories that perfectly capture the zeitgeist through the voices of vivid and engaging women from adolescence to old age.

"We build worlds for ourselves wherever we go," writes Ann Beattie. The State We're In, her magnificent new collection of linked stories, is about how we live in the places we have chosen - or been chosen by. It's about the stories we tell our families, our friends, and ourselves, the truths we may or may not see, how our affinities unite or repel us, and where we look for love.

Many of these stories are set in Maine, but The State We're In is about more than geographical location, and certainly is not a picture postcard of the coastal state. Some characters have arrived by accident, others are trying to get out. The collection opens, closes, and is interlaced with stories that focus on Jocelyn, a wryly disaffected teenager living with her aunt and uncle while attending summer school. As in life, the narratives of other characters interrupt Jocelyn's, sometimes challenging, sometimes embellishing her view.

Riveting, witty, sly, idiosyncratic, and bold, these stories describe a state of mind, a manner of being - now. A Beattie story, says Margaret Atwood, is "like a fresh bulletin from the front: we snatch it up, eager to know what's happening out there on the edge of that shifting and dubious no-man's-land known as interpersonal relations." The State We're In is a fearless exploration of contemporary life by a brilliant writer whose fiction startles as it illuminates.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The collection demonstrates Beattie's craftsmanship, precise language, and her knack for revealing psychological truths." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. One narrator muses, 'The whole world's full of stories,' but few can tell them as exquisitely, warmly, or drolly as Beattie." - Booklist

"An engaging collection of varied characters, if varying degrees of substance." - Kirkus

This information about The State We're In was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ann Beattie Author Biography

Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike's The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Key West, Florida, and Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.

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