By Ann Beattie
A good short story grabs you by the throat, and Beattie writes them like no other. The second story in this collection lives in me always. It's called "Snow," and it's so short—just three pages—that I'm tempted to write it all out so you can see the beauty and weight of it. Instead, I'll give you a taste: "This is a story, told the way you say stories should be told: Somebody grew up, fell in love, and spent the winter with her lover in the country. This, of course, is the barest outline, and futile to discuss. It's as pointless as throwing birdseed on the ground while snow still falls fast. Who expects small things to survive when even the largest get lost? People forget years and remember moments. Seconds and symbols are left to sum things up: the black shroud over the pool. Love, in its shortest form, becomes a word. What I remember about that time is one winter. The snow. Even now, saying 'snow,' my lips move so that they kiss the air."