Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Another You"

I like Ann Beattie’s work very much, and have written about it here (6/26/10). But recently when I took one of her novels, “Another You” (Vintage, 1996), with me on a trip, and read a bit on the plane, a bit in the hotel room, and a bit more on the plane back, I found myself dragging myself through it, dozing off, getting distracted, not looking forward to reading more. I finally did finish it, but I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. The problem may have been that I didn’t feel engaged with the main characters -- a couple in a lukewarm marriage, a charming but bizarre and deceptive English professor acquaintance of theirs, an earnest but also deceptive female college student, and assorted others -- or the plot, a kind of meandering, semi-mysterious one, with turns and twists that were meant to be surprising but just sort of fizzled out. Now I can’t decide if it is just this novel, or if I am somehow less taken by Ann Beattie’s work as a whole than I used to be. Or perhaps I still like her short stories (which she is most known for) but not her novels? Should I seek out and read or re-read another of her novels to find out? Or should I let the question percolate in the back of my mind until I happen to stumble across one of her novels again, perhaps at a library sale or on vacation, and then see what happens?

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