A Wonderful Stroke of Luck Summary and Reviews

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck

by Ann Beattie

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck by Ann Beattie X
A Wonderful Stroke of Luck by Ann Beattie
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  • Published Apr 2019
    288 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A razor-sharp, deeply felt new novel - the twenty-first book by Ann Beattie - about the complicated relationship between a charismatic teacher and his students, and the secrets we keep from those we love

A razor-sharp, deeply felt new novel - the twenty-first book by Ann Beattie - about the complicated relationship between a charismatic teacher and his students, and the secrets we keep from those we love

At a boarding school in New Hampshire, Ben joins the honor society led by Pierre LaVerdere, an enigmatic, brilliant, yet perverse teacher who instructs his students not only about how to reason, but how to prevaricate. As the years go by, LaVerdere's covert and overt instruction lingers in his students' lives as they seek some sense of purpose or meaning. Ben feels the pace of his life accelerating and views his intimate relationships as less and less fulfilling; there seems to be a subtext he's not able to access. And what, really, did Bailey Academy teach him?

While relationships with his stepmother and sister improve, and a move to upstate New York offers respite from his anxiety about love and work, LaVerdere's reappearance in his life disturbs Ben's equilibrium. Everything he once thought he knew about his teacher - and himself - is called into question. Written by one of our most iconic writers, known for casting a cold eye on her generation's ambivalence and sometimes mistaken ambition, A Wonderful Stroke of Luck is a keenly observed psychological study of a man who alternates between careful driving and hazardous risk-taking, as he struggles to incorporate his past into the vertiginous present.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Vulture, The Millions, and O Magazine

"Starred Review. Obvious is one thing Beattie never is. Her elegantly sculpted tale is both wrenchingly sad and ultimately enigmatic: as usual." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. This jarring dissection of privilege and anxiety, gender expectations, lust, ludicrous predicaments, defensive selfishness, moral confusion, and numbing loneliness projects a matrix of angst somewhat countered by the solace and sustenance found in a quiet life far from the grasping, hurried, hostile world." - Booklist

"As always, Beattie offers sharp psychological insights and well-crafted prose, but the novel lacks the power and emotional depth of her best work." - Publishers Weekly

"Even if you're not old enough to remember the thrill of reading Beattie's first-ever story to be published in The New Yorker, you'll find that the short fiction master's latest foray into long form is a marvel of wry wit and wisdom." - Oprah magazine

This information about A Wonderful Stroke of Luck 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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