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Mrs. Nixon

Mrs. Nixon

A Novelist Imagines a Life

The rare First Lady who did not write a book, Pat Nixon remains one of the most mysterious and enigmatic public figures in recent history. Ann Beattie, like many of her generation, dismissed Richard Nixon’s wife. Decades later, she wonders what it must have been like to be married to such a spectacularly ambitious and catastrophically self-destructive man.

Beattie, a professor of writing at the University of Virginia, uses the elusive persona of Mrs. Nixon to examine how writers create characters, how they use detail, and what drives their storytelling. Like Stephen King’s On Writing, this fascinating and intimate account offers readers a rare glimpse into the imagination of a writer.

A startlingly compelling and revelatory work, Mrs. Nixon is an insightful and humorous examination of the First Couple who occupied the White House as the baby boomers came of age.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439168721 | 
  • November 2012
List Price $16.00
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Read an Excerpt

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life by Ann Beattie

Reading Sample

A note on the book: What you will read is based on research. There is a chronology appended that will allow the reader to know when certain events or moments in Mrs. Nixon’s life occurred. Also, at the back of the book, there are end notes that serve as footnotes of individual sections. I imagine dialogue to which I had no access; I do my best to write as I think my characters would think and speak, based on what I’ve read about them. In some cases, factual events are used only as a point of departure, which should become clear; those times I write... see more

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About the Author

Ann Beattie
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Ann Beattie

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

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