The State We’re In | Granta

  • Published: 07/01/2016
  • ISBN: 9781783782918
  • 135x20mm
  • 224 pages

The State We’re In

Ann Beattie

The State We’re In is the first new collection in a decade from the writer that John Updike credited with creating ‘an entirely different kind of short story’. Cool, ironic and witty, these stories are sharply observed, but underpinned with a quiet tenderness.

Told through the voices of vivid and engaging women of all ages, The State We’re In explores their doubts and desires and reveals the unexpected moments and glancing epiphanies of daily life. Some of Beattie’s idiosyncratic and compelling characters have arrived in the coastal state of Maine by accident, while others are trying to escape. The collection is woven around Jocelyn, a disaffected teenager living with her aunt and uncle for the summer, forging new friendships, avoiding her mother’s calls, taking writing classes, and encountering mortality for the first time.

Beattie’s voice is mesmerising and her keen insight into the human heart cuts through our preconceptions and prejudices. The State We’re In is a pitch-perfect meditation on the singular strangeness of life.

Dense with off-kilter insight and suggestive characterisation, these are pieces that wrongfoot you in the best way

Alex Clark, Observer

Beattie's handling of this subject is subtle, discomfiting and strangely beautiful. She is particularly adept at noticing the magic of the world in which her characters live so uneasily'

Matthew Adams, Sunday Telegraph

The comedy is subtle, the writing is polished... Delicious to read - mischievous, witty, ironic and truthful

Kate Saunders, The Times

The Author

Ann Beattie’s books include the story collections What Was Mine, The State We’re In and The Accomplished Guest. Her most recent novel is A Wonderful Stroke of Luck.

More about the author →

Ann Beattie on

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‘As I began to flip through a literary magazine, I was stopped by a photograph of myself as a young girl, standing beside my college professor.’

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Lady Neptune

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‘The word money popped up like a bit of the ocean’s detritus riding in on a wave, but her lips formed the words ‘Merry Christmas’.’