"Wolf Dreams" (7 pages,1974)
Maybe everyone into the Kindle/Ipad reading experience already knows this but I recently found that if you download a sample of a Kindle edition collection of short stories you will get for free from one to three complete short stories of a work under copyright. This is great for those of us who live where there are no public libraries in that it allows us try out an author whose work might not be other wise accessible on the web.
Yesterday I downloaded a sample of The New Yorker Stories (2010) by Anne Beattie (1947, USA) and was very happy to see the sample included three of her stories. In the collection of her stories, all of which were originally published in The New Yorker over a 22 year period, the works are arranged by order published so the sample is of three early stories.
The two short stories I read are both written in a very nice kind of "easy reading" prose style that one would enjoy reading while looking at the ads for expensive consumer goods like Mount Blanc pens, Hermes Hand Bags and $20,000 watches.
Both of the stories are about women whose lives center around men with whom they have perhaps comfortable but still uneasy relationships.
"A Platonic Relationship" is about a woman who divorces her attorney husband but remands friends with him. She gets her own place to live and she ends up renting a room to a male college student 10 years younger than her. She is in her early thirties. There never is any romance or sex between them and no clear suggestion the woman even wanted that. She begins to develop an odd nurturing relationship with the man. I found this story to be well written but I was not engaged by the plot line or characters very much. I am glad I took the time to read it.
"Wolf Dreams" is another story about a woman who gets her identity from the series of men she has married and divorced. We have to put together a lot of her life for ourselves, one of the characteristics of the short story so that is fine. I found this to also be an OK story.
I am glad I had the option to read these stories for free and I know I cannot access her as a writer based only on some of her very first stories. I would like to read her older works but, I admit, probably not enough to buy them when there are huge amounts of stories I can read for free.
Please share your experience with Beattie with us.