'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 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.
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