The State We’re In | Granta

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.

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

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 is the author of nine short story collections and eight novels. She has been included in four O. Henry Award collections, in John Updike’s The Best American Short Stories of the Century, and in Jennifer Egan’s The Best American Short Stories 2014. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has a story in the forthcoming Pushcart Prize 40th anniversary issue. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida.

More about the author →

Ann Beattie on

Five Things Right Now | The Online Edition

Five Things Right Now: Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

Fiction | Granta 133

Lady Neptune

Ann Beattie

‘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’.’

Fiction | Granta 126

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’