Mrs. Nixon

Mrs. Nixon

A Novelist Imagines a Life

By Ann Beattie

Scribner Book Company, Paperback, 9781439168721, 282pp.

Publication Date: November 13, 2012


The rare First Lady who did not write a book, Pat Nixon remains one of the most mysterious and enigmatic public figures in recent history. Ann Beattie, like many of her generation, dismissed Richard Nixon’s wife. Decades later, she wonders what it must have been like to be married to such a spectacularly ambitious and catastrophically self-destructive man.

Beattie, a professor of writing at the University of Virginia, uses the elusive persona of Mrs. Nixon to examine how writers create characters, how they use detail, and what drives their storytelling. Like Stephen King’s On Writing, this fascinating and intimate account offers readers a rare glimpse into the imagination of a writer.

A startlingly compelling and revelatory work, Mrs. Nixon is an insightful and humorous examination of the First Couple who occupied the White House as the baby boomers came of age.

About the Author
Ann Beattie 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. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida.

Praise For Mrs. Nixon

“Beattie gives us tantalizing glimpses of Mrs. Nixon, and a fully realized account of fiction, fiction writing, and the fiction writer.”—The Boston Globe

“Irresistible.”—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Strikingly original…Both timely and unique: a postmodern take on Nixon’s life that blurs fact and fiction.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Beattie captures something familiar in Pat, making us care about her.” —Barbara Liss, The Houston Chronicle

“A fascinating look at the writer in her workshop.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s “All Things Considered”

“Beattie writes insightfully and with contagious excitement of the artistic process and offers remarkable analysis of the world’s literary greats…Her respect for them is a beautiful thing to behold.”—M.E. Collins, Chicago Sun-Times