Form and Content
Where You’ll Find Me is a collection of fifteen short stories that depict Ann Beattie’s chief concern: the alienated condition of modern women as reflected in their domestic relationships. Beattie has become famous because of her ability to describe the chronic loneliness, frustration, and hopelessness that many of her feminine readers know from personal experience. The women in these stories are often looking for love and marriage but finding that something about the modern condition makes these things hard to find and impossible to keep. Many stories deal with second or third marriages or live-in relationships doomed to self-destruction because neither party is willing to make a permanent commitment.
The men and women about whom Beattie writes are usually members of the upper middle class. They all seem depressed, anxious, confused, or self-destructive in spite of the fact that they enjoy an enviable standard of living. In fact, it often seems that their spiritual malaise is a result of their addiction to upward mobility and consumerism, along with their awareness of the failure of status and possessions to satisfy basic human needs.
The stories in Where You’ll Find Me are all very short and are written in the style that has come to be called minimalism. An examination of these stories reveals all the characteristics that have been damned and praised by critics since minimalism appeared on the American literary scene in the 1960’s.
The titles themselves are minimalistic. Many consist of a single word, such as “Snow,”...
(The entire section is 649 words.)