A Novelist Imagines a Life
Publication Date: November 2011
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Pat Nixon remains one of our most mysterious and intriguing public figures, the only modern First Lady who never wrote a memoir. Beattie, like many of her generation, dismissed Richard Nixon's wife: "interchangeable with a Martian," she said. Decades later, she wonders what it must have been like to be married to such a spectacularly ambitious and catastrophically self-destructive man. Drawing on a wealth of sources Beattie reconstructs dozens of scenes in an attempt to see the world from Mrs. Nixon's point of view. Beattie packs insight and humor into her examination of the First Couple with whom baby boomers came of age. Mrs. Nixon is a startlingly compelling and revelatory work.
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 (Emerita). 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.
Starred Review. "Beattie has created a resplendent paean to the pleasures of the literary imagination, and a riveting and mischievous, revealing and revitalizing portrait of an overlooked woman." - Booklist
"...strikingly original...both timely and unique...B+" - Entertainment Weekly
"Very clever...a meditation on writing..." - New York Journal of Books
"...fascinating...brilliant..." - NPR
"enchanting...gives us tantalizing glimpses of Nixon, and a fully realized account of fiction, fiction writing, and the fiction writer." - Boston Globe
"...splendidly tricky...Nothing in "Mrs. Nixon" is perfectly clear, and that is the source of its power." - San Francisco Chronicle
"...a fun, risky, thoughtful book..." - Barnes & Noble Review
"an immersive read, and the mix of fact and fiction, pensiveness and invention...simulate the complexity of human experience." - Washingtonian
"Beattie captures something familiar in Pat, making us care about her. That's the magic of the fiction writer..." - Chron