Meghan O’Rourke, a former editor at The New Yorker and Slate, is the author of the poetry collections Once and Halflife and a memoir, The Long Goodbye. Her poetry and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, and teaches at NYU and Princeton.

IN THE REVIEW

The Visions of Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie, New York City, 2010

The New Yorker Stories

by Ann Beattie

Distortions

by Ann Beattie
Ann Beattie published her first story in The New Yorker, “A Platonic Relationship”—about a woman who has left her husband in search of “a better world” only to discover that she is afraid of sleeping alone—on April 8, 1974, at the age of twenty-six. The story was praised on its …

A Further Sea

In the attic I sleep in a swallowing heat. The green carcasses of beetles line the floorboards; afternoon creaks through its ecclesiastical hours. Topriders skim the roof, its tar-hardened cloak, and light rips west of the mountains, where the neighbor’s boy trips on the enamel hoof …

Spectacular

Once something must have happened here, before you were always quoting yourself to sleep, a victim of bunny marks. Gunpowder boomed in the birch forests, redcoats flashed like flowers. The city was narcotic with gold, derricks stiffened beside wounded ships. Women wept …