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Chilly Scenes of Winter Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (January 2, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679732349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679732341
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

8 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

This is the story of a love-smitten Charles; his friend Sam, the Phi Beta Kappa and former coat salesman; and Charles' mother, who spends a lot of time in the bathtub feeling depressed.

More About the Author

Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike's 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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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An excellent read, the first or fourth time around.
dylan555
And these days are at once funny,poignant, sardonic and absolutely riveting.
Irene Adler
I really cared about these guys at the end of the book.
Sylvia Binkley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By dylan555 on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
First off, let me say the movie version of this book, while well acted, chops the story up in ways that kills some of the best things about the book.
This is one of those books that is tough to describe. I've read it several times now and find new things everytime. Beattie does an incredible job of creating these people who walk through their own little world, trying to deal with the hand that life has dealt them. They're just like us, selfish, unaware, worn out in places, but full of humanity. There are acts of kindness, warmth, vulnerability in these people the author has created. This is what makes this book, you follow these people along an episode of their lives and wonder where its going to go. I find that when I take a step back, I question where they end up, but while I'm in it, I don't.
At the heart of the matter is a love story, an awkward, imperfect love story about a man who is obsessed. It drives him through his days, drives him into doing dumb things, and gets his friends and family to roll their eyes.
An excellent read, the first or fourth time around.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Irene Adler on October 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
In "Chilly Scenes of Winter," Beattie creates a crisp, objective (except for the subjective parts) snapshot of a life. Main character Charles (never Charlie!) yearns for what he doesn't have and believes he wants -- but maybe he doesn't. These are a few days in the life of Charles, his best friend Sam, sister Susan, love-of-his-life Laura, the ghost of Janis Joplin, and step-dad Pete (the dancing, Turtle Wax devotee) and Charles' crazy mother. And these days are at once funny,poignant, sardonic and absolutely riveting. Although it takes place in the mid 1970's, the references are a snap for any pop culture fan and the story is timeless. This is Beattie's first and best book. A must!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ann Beattie's first novel captures the mundanity of everyday life and the exquisite pain of unrequited obsession perfectly. Our hero, Charles, takes trips to the supermarket where nothing in the entire store looks appetizing, and cuts work to take long walks in the cold. Every characterization and conversation plays itself out with sharp realism. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie C. Herdman on February 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book started out interesting, grew rather tiring, you started feeling slightly melancholy and reflecting on the good things in your life and then just as it started to become emotionally warm and fuzzy, it stopped. From an academic standpoint, the voice and the character development were phenomenal. This book isn't exciting but it is one of those things that makes you scratch your head and be amazed that you really aren't the only one having these inane types of conversations and bizarre interpersonal relationships. A good read for a cold night and a hot cup of tea but not a good read if you are wanting to really entertain yourself. If this book were a Friday date night, it would be more of a glass of cognac at a quiet piano bar than a night of dinner and dancing in a nightclub. It has great value at the right time and place.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By algo41 on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book, copyrighted in 1976, is a story of "twenty-somethings" who are floundering. The economic environment is very challenging, but Charles, the protagonist, actually has a secure government job, although he finds it unfulfilling. You get to know Charles very well, which is not a total positive, although he is a decent man, a great friend, and a romantic. Beattie employs two approaches to developing his character. I loved the dialogue, which was often very funny, although sometimes more repetitious than it need be to sound authentic and get the point across. I found my entry into Charles' thoughts frequently dull, and I wonder how much of this book Beattie could have gotten across by just relying on dialogue and some narrative. There is more to this book than Charles: several other characters make their mark. In particular Charle's step father is almost pitiful, but really a vulnerable and well meaning person doing the best he can with a situation with no good resolution, the mental illness of his wife.
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