By Ann Beattie
To her newest novel, Beattie brings an identical documentary accuracy and Chekhovian wit and tenderness that experience made her the most acclaimed portraitists of up to date American lifestyles. Marshall Lockard, a professor on the neighborhood collage, is considering adultery, unaware that his spouse is already committing it.
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Putting his genitals into his trousers Sears seemed to think he was handling history. There were no cabs that day. He more or less ran to her apartment and was winded when he got into the elevator in her building. “Twelve B,” he said to the elevator operator. It was the same man who had taken him down on his first morning. His face seemed to Sears to possess some innocence and so he could not attribute meanness to the exchange that followed. ” the elevator man asked. “No,” said Sears. He could barely speak.
She noticed the FOR RENT sign in the barbershop window and saw from her kitchen window the strangers who came to the house each night at dusk. From the rubbish that was dumped into the pond Sam had salvaged a broken overstuffed chair and he sat in this while he collected his fees. Betsy had seen Sam reposing in this as she drove out toward Buy Brite on the interstate. He seemed to be supervising the death of Beasley’s Pond, although Betsy would always think of him as the murderer of an old and friendly dog.
She imagined the Salazzos to be much less sensitive and refined than she and Henry and she guessed that their insensitivity involved an indifference to the sounds of the world around them, including the sounds of their wind chimes. However, they woke her again at three and kept her pretty much awake until dawn. She could not discern what she found so troubling in the noise they made but she thought they made a troublesome noise. When she came home the next night and was taking off her shoes she called her friend Liz Holland and told her about the problem.