Ann Beattie, whose first published short story appeared in The New Yorker
in 1973, received the 2000 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is, as the Washington Post Book World
said, "one of our era's most vital masters of the short form."
The eleven stories in her new work are peopled by characters coming to terms with the legacies of long-held family myths or confronting altered circumstances -- new frailty or sudden, unlikely success. Beattie's ear for language, her complex and subtle wit, and her profound compassion are unparalleled. From the elegiac story "The Famous Poet, Amid Bougainvillea," in which two men trade ruminations on illness, art, and servitude, to "The Big-Breasted Pilgrim," wherein a famous chef gets a series of bewildering phone calls from George Stephanopoulos, Perfect Recall
is a riveting commentary on the way we live now by a spectacular prose artist.Discussion Points
1.In Perfect Recall
the narratives Ann Beattie has created shift between various places and times. The title story epitomizes this fluidity: Jane's ability to remember conversations and events in their entirety allows her to document her family's story and to attempt to weave the past and present together. How does the past affect the lives of the various characters? What does Beattie achieve by incorporating the past into many of the narratives throughout the collection?
2.In "See the Pyramids" Che