The Doctor's House by Ann Beattie

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An ear for language of the highest order, profound compassion for characters, an eye for the smallest shifts in the cultural landscape, and a preternatural understanding of motivation and behavior -- Ann Beattie's renowned storytelling abilities, for which she won the 2000 PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize, are on dazzling display in The Doctor's House.
We open this novel to a woman's account of her brother's sexual appetites and his betrayals of his lovers, which he has a need to confess to his sister. Nina, a reclusive copy editor, should have better things to do than to track Andrew's escapades. Since her husband's tragic death, she has become solitary and defensive -- and as compulsive about her brother as he is about sex.
When the first movement ends, the melody is taken up by their mother. New shadows and new light fall on Nina's account as painful secrets of life in the house of their father, the doctor's house, emerge. In the dramatic third movement, the brother gives us his perspective, and as Beattie takes us into Andrew's mind, there is the suggestion that Nina is less innocent and less detached than she maintains.
Through subtle shifts, The Doctor's House chronicles the fictions three people fabricate in order to interpret, to justify, or simply to survive their lives. "Few novelists," said The Washington Post, "are more adept at creating fictional atmospheres that eerily simulate the texture of everyday life."

About Ann Beattie

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Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike’s The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Key West, Florida, and Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.
Published March 6, 2002 by Scribner. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

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A family so dysfunctional that it makes the House of Atreus look like the Brady Bunch gradually reveals its secrets in Beattie's emotionally charged seventh novel, her first since My Life, Starring Dara Falcon (1997).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Doctor's House

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