Follies (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Often labeled the spokeswoman of the yuppie generation of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Ann Beattie has been alternately praised for her satiric view of that era’s notorious passivity and criticized for presenting sophisticated, New Yorker-magazine versions of characters unable to understand themselves and unwilling to understand others. In the collection Follies, Beattie departs from her so-called minimalism and plays with a variety of literary parodies and comic voices. Instead of being tight-lipped, she is downright voluble. Instead of writing in an impassive monotone, she skips about her characters with self-conscious authorial glee. For the first time, she seems to be having a good time in her writing.
The longest story in the book, taking up over one-third of it, is the novella Fléchette Follies. The title is a sly joke about the tone and structure of the novella itself, for “flechette” is a type of ammunition used in cluster bombs and “follies” is a kind of slapstick comic romp; both terms describe the narrative style of the story very well. The main characters are a man named George Wissone, who gets in a minor traffic accident one morning with a woman named Nancy Gregerson in Charlottesville, Virginia (where Beattie is an English professor at the University of Virginia). Because Gregerson is worried about her son,...
(The entire section is 1789 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Atlanta Journal and Constitution, June 12, 2005, p. 8L.
Booklist 101, no. 11 (February 1, 2005): 916.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 4 (February 15, 2005): 188.
Library Journal 130, no. 5 (March 15, 2005): 77-78.
Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2005, p. E9.
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The New York Times Book Review 154 (May 22, 2005): 16.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 19, 2005, p. J4.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 15, 2005, p. C10.
The Washington Post, June 19, 2005, p. T03.
(The entire section is 61 words.)