Follies ) turns a clinical eye on young love in this moody period piece about Jane Jay Costner, who, just out of college in 1980, is given the opportunit"/>

Walks with Men

Ann Beattie, Author . Scribner $15 (102p) ISBN 978-1-4391-7576-7 ISBN 978-1-4391-6869-1

Beattie (Follies ) turns a clinical eye on young love in this moody period piece about Jane Jay Costner, who, just out of college in 1980, is given the opportunity to learn the ways of the world and of love from an older man. The affair is proposed as an intellectual experiment, and the reader cringes as young Jane becomes deeply involved with Neil, an older writer who is, predictably, married and no great catch besides. He offers a stream of pretentious aphorisms (“When you travel to Europe, never wear a fragrance from the country you're in”) that Jane initially admires but eventually distrusts. But even as her dislike for her lover grows, she becomes ever more entrenched. Beattie's talent as a prose stylist is evident: the sentences are gorgeous and there isn't a word out of place, but emotion is subdued to the point of aloofness, leaving the reader with little more than idle concern for Jane. Beattie effortlessly conjures 1980s New York, but the human terrain could be less muted. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/15/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
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