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About The Book

* “Supple, superb.” —The Boston Globe * “A deft mash of lonesomeness and wit.” —Chicago Tribune * “Her best in more than two decades.” —The New York Times *

Award-winning short story writer Ann Beattie returns with a “sophisticated, idiosyncratic, and witty” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) collection of linked stories set in Charlottesville, Virginia, in a moment of unrest.

Onlookers is collection of extraordinary stories about people living in the same Southern town whose lives intersect in surprising ways. Peaceful Charlottesville, Virginia, drew national attention when white nationalists held a rally there in 2017, a horrific event whose repercussions are still felt today. Confederate monuments such as General Robert E. Lee atop his horse were then still standing. The statues are a constant presence and a metaphoric refrain throughout this collection, though they represent different things to different characters. Some landmarks may have faded from consciousness but provoke fresh outrage when viewed through newly opened eyes.

In “Nearby,” an elderly man and his younger wife watch from their penthouse as protestors gather to oppose the once “heroic” explorers Lewis and Clark depicted towering over their native guide, Sacagawea. A lawyer in “In the Great Southern Tradition” deals with a crisis on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, while his sister and nephew plant tulip bulbs at her stately home.

These are stories of unexpected relationships that affirm the value of friendship, even when it requires difficult compromises or unexpected risks. Ann Beattie explores questions about the nature of community, and “proves her herself up to the task of pinpointing America’s contradictions” (Publishers Weekly).

About The Author

Credit: Lincoln Perry

Ann Beattie has been included in five O. Henry Award Collections, in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. The former 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, Virginia, and Florida.

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (July 18, 2023)
  • Runtime: 8 hours and 22 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797155579

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"Ryan creates varied and distinct portrayals of the large cast and impressively depicts the ambiance of each setting. Insightful writing and skilled narration create a satisfying listen."

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