A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, with her own collection of short stories making the best seller list (see the review below), Ann Beattie has imagined Pat Nixon’s life in a fictionalized version of the former first lady’s life and thoughts – Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life – to be published this month. Not the first time a First Lady has recently been subjected to conjecture: Laura Bush in Curtis Sittenfeld’s An American Wife, Hilary Clinton in Sue Miller’s The Senator’s Wife. Monica Ali even resurrected Princess Diana with a new life in Untold Story.
In her article for the New York Times, Me and Mrs. Nixon, Beattie offers her rationale for creating her own scrutiny of Richard Nixon’s wife – a seeming paragon of old-fashioned values, married to a man with no values. What must have been going on in her head? How did she manage to fade so effectively into the background – even behind the intensity of her daughters?
Beattie offered a taste of what to expect in her recent excerpt in The New Yorker – Starlight. The book might be fun to read, but, like others in this genre, it could be hard to remember it’s fiction.
- Read the review of Ann Beattie – the New Yorker Stories: here