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"This is an extraordinary book of stories. Many of the characters are anchored to coastal Maine, but a particular quality of wildness animates nearly all of them. The stories are energetic, often mysterious, and beautifully written, and they will stay in your memory long after you finish the book."—Charles Baxter Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected s "This is an extraordinary book of stories. Many of the characters are anchored to coastal Maine, but a particular quality of wildness animates nearly all of them. The stories are energetic, often mysterious, and beautifully written, and they will stay in your memory long after you finish the book."—Charles Baxter Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected stories in Goodnight, Beautiful Women bring us into the sultry, mysterious inner lives of New England women and girls as they navigate the dangers and struggles of their outer worlds. With novelistic breadth and a quicksilver emotional intelligence, Noyes explores the ruptures and vicissitudes of growing up and growing old, and shines a light on our most uncomfortable impulses while masterfully charting the depths of our murky desires. A woman watches her husband throw one by one their earthly possessions into the local quarry, before vanishing himself; two girls from very different social classes find themselves deep in the throes of a punishing affair; a motherless teenager is sexually awakened in the aftermath of a local trauma; and a woman’s guilt from a childhood lie about her intellectually disabled cousin reverberates into her married years. Dark and brilliant, rhythmic and lucid, Goodnight, Beautiful Women marks the arrival of a fearless and unique new young voice in American fiction.


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"This is an extraordinary book of stories. Many of the characters are anchored to coastal Maine, but a particular quality of wildness animates nearly all of them. The stories are energetic, often mysterious, and beautifully written, and they will stay in your memory long after you finish the book."—Charles Baxter Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected s "This is an extraordinary book of stories. Many of the characters are anchored to coastal Maine, but a particular quality of wildness animates nearly all of them. The stories are energetic, often mysterious, and beautifully written, and they will stay in your memory long after you finish the book."—Charles Baxter Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected stories in Goodnight, Beautiful Women bring us into the sultry, mysterious inner lives of New England women and girls as they navigate the dangers and struggles of their outer worlds. With novelistic breadth and a quicksilver emotional intelligence, Noyes explores the ruptures and vicissitudes of growing up and growing old, and shines a light on our most uncomfortable impulses while masterfully charting the depths of our murky desires. A woman watches her husband throw one by one their earthly possessions into the local quarry, before vanishing himself; two girls from very different social classes find themselves deep in the throes of a punishing affair; a motherless teenager is sexually awakened in the aftermath of a local trauma; and a woman’s guilt from a childhood lie about her intellectually disabled cousin reverberates into her married years. Dark and brilliant, rhythmic and lucid, Goodnight, Beautiful Women marks the arrival of a fearless and unique new young voice in American fiction.

30 review for Goodnight, Beautiful Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    Goodnight, Beautiful Women made for what felt like dark and heavy reading. It's a brief collection of short stories mostly set in contemporary US. The themes running though the stories are dark: sexual abuse and assault, serious mental health problems, abusive relationships, etc... And the take on these issues make them even darker -- the characters' reactions are not always what one would expect and often pushed me close to the borders of my comfort zone. But it's not a bad thing to feel rattle Goodnight, Beautiful Women made for what felt like dark and heavy reading. It's a brief collection of short stories mostly set in contemporary US. The themes running though the stories are dark: sexual abuse and assault, serious mental health problems, abusive relationships, etc... And the take on these issues make them even darker -- the characters' reactions are not always what one would expect and often pushed me close to the borders of my comfort zone. But it's not a bad thing to feel rattled or pushed every now and then. And there is some relief from the hard edges of these stories -- some powerful redeeming moments and relationships. This collection won't be for everyone, but Anna Noyes is a talented writer -- she packs a lot of emotion in few pages. Again, 2016 is delivering some excellent short story collections and Goodnight, Beautiful Women is another one. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 The setting is Coastal Maine and the stories feature women of different ages, flawed women who often make bad choices. Many times they are their own worst enemies. Many of these stories take an unexpected turn, some made me uncomfortable. The endings are mostly open ended, ending abruptly in some, left to the reader's interpretation. Yet, the descriptive touches, the ordinariness of common things again stories that are anything but, make these so memorable. A very assured first novel, gritty 3.5 The setting is Coastal Maine and the stories feature women of different ages, flawed women who often make bad choices. Many times they are their own worst enemies. Many of these stories take an unexpected turn, some made me uncomfortable. The endings are mostly open ended, ending abruptly in some, left to the reader's interpretation. Yet, the descriptive touches, the ordinariness of common things again stories that are anything but, make these so memorable. A very assured first novel, gritty, dark, unexpected, full of unexpressed longing, many sexual situations. The title story has a visual near the ending that made this one a standout for me. A father standing outside a truck stop holding two cups of hot chocolate as the mother and daughter drive away. There is more to the story but it is these observations, nuanced touches that despite the feeling of uneasiness, make them well worth reading. ARC from Netgalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Update: Congratulations..........This book is a finalist for the 2017 Story Prize!!! Well Deserved!!! "He pulled her into the bed of the truck, spread out his coat and Joni lay back and propped her leg against the cool of the wheel well. And finally, after the whole day of thinking on it, she guided him inside her. She felt like scattered iron filings, and Jack was the magnet that pulled them together." "Crazy, she thinks, how she's afraid he will pull her in. Jack had started to throw things into t Update: Congratulations..........This book is a finalist for the 2017 Story Prize!!! Well Deserved!!! "He pulled her into the bed of the truck, spread out his coat and Joni lay back and propped her leg against the cool of the wheel well. And finally, after the whole day of thinking on it, she guided him inside her. She felt like scattered iron filings, and Jack was the magnet that pulled them together." "Crazy, she thinks, how she's afraid he will pull her in. Jack had started to throw things into the quarry. That was when she understood something was really wrong." These stories are timeless... realistic - dreamlike - in an atmosphere of unease and distrust between the characters. They are taut, disturbing, filled with indignation and pathos for the battles that women have to fight every day. BUT.... "But she's so beautiful. She was always waving to me. Every time I saw her, she smiled and waved." Stunning collection of stories to devour in one sitting. Simply elegant writing! Mesmerizing 'Wow'!!! Thank You Grove Atlantic, Netgalley, and Anna Noyes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    I'm giving up on this after reading the first five stories in this collection and part of the sixth. It's not that I wasn't moved by these characters because I was. It's not that the writing isn't good because it is. It's just that the dark and sometimes disturbing nature of the stories pushed me to the edge of my comfort level and I'd rather read something else . Since I did not finish it , I won't rate it or give more of a review than this. Thanks to Grove Atlantic/Grove Press and NetGalley. I'm giving up on this after reading the first five stories in this collection and part of the sixth. It's not that I wasn't moved by these characters because I was. It's not that the writing isn't good because it is. It's just that the dark and sometimes disturbing nature of the stories pushed me to the edge of my comfort level and I'd rather read something else . Since I did not finish it , I won't rate it or give more of a review than this. Thanks to Grove Atlantic/Grove Press and NetGalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    E-galley provided through the generosity of Grove Atlantic and Netgalley published June 7, 2016. The publication date for Goodnight, Beautiful Women had passed by and I suspected Grove Atlantic was not providing access to this title any longer when lo and behold an acceptance email arrived. Short story collections are often troublesome for me. Either I’m dangling at a precipice or scratching my head at the end of each. This surprises me, as I have no trouble with ambiguous endings. I relish the t E-galley provided through the generosity of Grove Atlantic and Netgalley published June 7, 2016. The publication date for Goodnight, Beautiful Women had passed by and I suspected Grove Atlantic was not providing access to this title any longer when lo and behold an acceptance email arrived. Short story collections are often troublesome for me. Either I’m dangling at a precipice or scratching my head at the end of each. This surprises me, as I have no trouble with ambiguous endings. I relish the thought of deciding what transpires after we leave the scene. Short stories do make me think but somehow I have a feeling of failure if I don’t quite get it. This collection of dark, sensuous, sexually nuanced tales are disturbing, yet beautifully written and full of potential for thought. Did I understand them all? No. Like poetry which I often shy away from, Goodnight, Beautiful Women took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me. Goodnight, Beautiful Women is exploratory in nature. The stories deal with important issues for women, those of love, loss, mental illness, sexual abuse and molestation and are fleshed out with the young perspective of Anna Noyes. Do not go into this debut without some time to ponder and reflect.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie "DJ"

    I don't read many short stories, yet found myself completely immersed in these. Anna Noyes is one heck of a writer. These stories are deep, often dark, and disturbing. And yet they go to the very core of what some women suffer in their relations with men. Some of the stories connect, while others do not. I've actually started a second reading, as the powerful messages they impart were easy for me to miss when I wasn't sure if they were connecting to another story. The first story centers around I don't read many short stories, yet found myself completely immersed in these. Anna Noyes is one heck of a writer. These stories are deep, often dark, and disturbing. And yet they go to the very core of what some women suffer in their relations with men. Some of the stories connect, while others do not. I've actually started a second reading, as the powerful messages they impart were easy for me to miss when I wasn't sure if they were connecting to another story. The first story centers around a quarry, as do a few others. And as Noyes states they are "deep, murky, a lot of junk down there." This is central to the stories. What women have buried below their surfaces. These stories gave me pause, to think about how men have defined the world. How women have always known deep down how unjust this was but stay on the surface and hope for safety. These stories remind of the dangers of men, the uncertainty of women. ( I mean no disrespect to men here, as I know many who champion us.) How child abuse can warp a woman's understanding of love. I wondered, where does this need come from to be with a man who abuses, and how need can so consume a woman it is all she can see. I often think just how far women have come in one generation, yet our past is still with us. I wonder if our current "rape culture" is a backlash against just how far we have come, as we are slowly unearthing "a lot of junk down there." A big thanks to NetGalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for making it available. It's amazing how much power a short story can have, how much emotion and plot and imagery and detail can be packed into a finite number of pages. It's one of the things I love so much about short stories—while, obviously, I love reading novels, and have been absolutely dazzled and bowled over by many books I've read, I've Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for making it available. It's amazing how much power a short story can have, how much emotion and plot and imagery and detail can be packed into a finite number of pages. It's one of the things I love so much about short stories—while, obviously, I love reading novels, and have been absolutely dazzled and bowled over by many books I've read, I've had similar reactions to short stories as well. It's so gratifying to see the short form is still so popular, and that there are so many incredibly talented writers out there doing wonders with short stories. Add Anna Noyes to that list. Goodnight, Beautiful Women , Noyes' soon-to-be-published collection of stories, contains some absolute stunners. As you might imagine, each of the 11 stories are about a woman (or women) or girl experiencing anguish, crisis, or uncertainty (sometimes more than one). How they choose to confront these turning points—or avoid them—provides moments of turmoil, transformation, or, in some cases, great strength. While not every story in the collection worked for me, most of these stories moved and amazed me. Some of my favorites included: "Hibernation," in which a woman struggles with the emotional breakdown and apparent suicide of her troubled husband; "Safe as Houses," which followed a teenage girl on the cusp of womanhood as a sexual assault happens nearby her home; "This Is Who She Was," a story about the brief yet impactful relationship between a young woman and her boyfriend's mother; "Werewolf," in which a woman wracked with guilt about a lie she told as a child does penance by spending each weekend with her intellectually challenged cousin; and the title story, which follows a young woman on a road trip with her mother and stepfather, when she is surprised by a revelation from her mother. These stories are at times funny, sad, thought-provoking, troubling, even sexy. Noyes has a true gift with language and imagery, and she really gets you invested in her characters within a few short pages. I love finding new, talented short story writers, and I look forward to seeing what is next in Noyes' career. She's definitely a writer I expect to hear more from in the future. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    DNF at 40% I just don't think I'm in the right place to be reading this collection of short stories right now, as they just aren't working for me. The title hooked me, but I didn't expect this collection devoted to women and the struggles/hardships they face to be so dreary. The first words that come to mind for what I've read so far are dark, heavy, depressing. Add that to the fact that the stories often ended rather abruptly, with no true ending or closure left me a bit unsettled. I'm used to r DNF at 40% I just don't think I'm in the right place to be reading this collection of short stories right now, as they just aren't working for me. The title hooked me, but I didn't expect this collection devoted to women and the struggles/hardships they face to be so dreary. The first words that come to mind for what I've read so far are dark, heavy, depressing. Add that to the fact that the stories often ended rather abruptly, with no true ending or closure left me a bit unsettled. I'm used to reading dark, suspenseful thrillers, but these stories just left me feeling deflated, so I'm moving on... ARC provided by NetGalley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    “It was difficult picking out appropriate clothing for a woman who’d just lost her husband. She combed her hair until it sparked with static. Joni, who once cried over a Folgers Coffee commercial, hadn’t cried yet. This frustrated her, like a sneeze that wouldn’t come.” Those lines from the first story in this book, in which a husband disappears into the quarry, set the tone for this short-story collection. It's a dark one, told with sparkling and lucid prose and not devoid of some - albeit despe “It was difficult picking out appropriate clothing for a woman who’d just lost her husband. She combed her hair until it sparked with static. Joni, who once cried over a Folgers Coffee commercial, hadn’t cried yet. This frustrated her, like a sneeze that wouldn’t come.” Those lines from the first story in this book, in which a husband disappears into the quarry, set the tone for this short-story collection. It's a dark one, told with sparkling and lucid prose and not devoid of some - albeit desperate - humour. What these stories have in common are girls and women who struggle with their inner and outer shadows, with some dark stain that seems stuck on their lives. They speak of the unreliability of love, about desire and abuse, about guilt and poverty. There's the story of the woman who shaves her head and drives off with her daughter in the middle of the night, instructing her child not to call her mom in an attempt to bring back the days in which she felt free and full of possibility. There's the title story, in which a woman suddenly decides to leave the man that's become a father figure to her daughter and the image of that man standing outside a gas station with two cups of steaming cocoa as mother and daughter drive off, his gray-blonde hair (...) blowing like seed from a kicked dandelion. Some of these women seem to be a mystery to themselves, as if they were imposters in their own life, unable to trust themselves. Like in 'Werewolf', one of my favourite stories in the collection, in which an innocent party game sends a woman down a spiral of guilt and doubt and all the way back to a lie she told as a child. Confused by the ease with which she lied, by the inability to explain her actions to herself and more and more unable to tell the truth from lie, she's spent most of her adult life trying to do penance, trying to do good. However: “What remains is the vague sense that what drives her to goodness is not purity, but rather some dark place that needs to mask itself, again and again.” All this may sound bleak and I suppose that's half of the truth indeed. Yet there's a raw tenderness, a compassion to Noyes' voice that evoke a real sense of beauty. And despite the sense of mystery in these stories she creates an intimacy between the characters and readers that I though was striking. I'm hoping for many more books by her. with many thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley fro the ARC

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elvan

    This is a haunting collection of stories. All are dark and speak of despair and struggle, of hope and endurance. As the title suggests, each story involves women at various ages and stages in their life. There are over protective parents trying to keep their children from harm and parents who “only saved me from foster care for the welfare cheques.” Many touch on life changing moments, of nature versus nurture, of mental illness and the effect it has on a family, an individual. The writing is ri This is a haunting collection of stories. All are dark and speak of despair and struggle, of hope and endurance. As the title suggests, each story involves women at various ages and stages in their life. There are over protective parents trying to keep their children from harm and parents who “only saved me from foster care for the welfare cheques.” Many touch on life changing moments, of nature versus nurture, of mental illness and the effect it has on a family, an individual. The writing is rich, powerful and raw. This quote from Hibernation; “In the morning the sheets smelled like soup from her sweat.Her mouth tastes like pennies.”72 And this quote from Treelaw; “The water’s many hands swim up and hold her, pressing her body to the sky.” 167 I had my favourites; Hibernation, Treelaw, Glow Baby, Werewolf and This is Who She Was. I could have listed all of the stories as there is not a weak one in the collection. Good Night, Beautiful Women is a beautiful, often tragic and always thought-provoking book and its author, Anna Noyes is one to add to your must read list. ARC received with thanks from Grove Press via NetGalley for review

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    What a disappointment this collection of short stories was. It was macabre (and I like macabre) but in a very disjointed fashion. Mostly I would get to the end of a story and wonder 'why?' and 'what was the point of that?' In the foreword of Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King talks about writing short stories to the effect that with a short story you have to take the most direct route; with a novel you can explore all the side streets. Anna Noyes would do well to take note of this advice. Althoug What a disappointment this collection of short stories was. It was macabre (and I like macabre) but in a very disjointed fashion. Mostly I would get to the end of a story and wonder 'why?' and 'what was the point of that?' In the foreword of Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King talks about writing short stories to the effect that with a short story you have to take the most direct route; with a novel you can explore all the side streets. Anna Noyes would do well to take note of this advice. Although all the stories are said to be set in Maine, most of them (with the exception of "Homecoming" could be set in anywhere, USA, or for that matter, any country you fancy. My favourite story in the collection was "Drawing Blood" in which two young women from vastly different backgrounds form a relationship. There were a few other stories which I would rate as 'okay', but in the main? - blah. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    Noyes gives these Snapshots of Women in Crises which made me sad and wishful that I was also getting snapshots of these women in happy moments so that I get a more complete picture, otherwise I might get the idea that Noyes' women are always sad and always in crisis. And I know from being a woman (yes - awe please) that aside from our dark moments, we also have our light ones. Noyes writing reminded me of Adam Johnson so I was a more than happy girl. Sadly the themes explored reminded me of Raymo Noyes gives these Snapshots of Women in Crises which made me sad and wishful that I was also getting snapshots of these women in happy moments so that I get a more complete picture, otherwise I might get the idea that Noyes' women are always sad and always in crisis. And I know from being a woman (yes - awe please) that aside from our dark moments, we also have our light ones. Noyes writing reminded me of Adam Johnson so I was a more than happy girl. Sadly the themes explored reminded me of Raymond Carver and these themes ill health, depression, abuse, seperation are sad and dark. I'm looking forward to read more Noyes in future. Read with Maya

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars: The Maine’s State Chamber of Commerce won’t be noting this collection of short stories as a promotional item. Bleak, sad, depressing, and hopeless are some of the emotions one feels reading these beautifully written and crafted stories. It’s summer as I write this review, and generally I’m drawn to the “light and airy” novel. This is NOT that. Yet, the writing is magnificent and the stories are alluring, although gloomy. All stories are women centered. Each character is either born in 3.5 stars: The Maine’s State Chamber of Commerce won’t be noting this collection of short stories as a promotional item. Bleak, sad, depressing, and hopeless are some of the emotions one feels reading these beautifully written and crafted stories. It’s summer as I write this review, and generally I’m drawn to the “light and airy” novel. This is NOT that. Yet, the writing is magnificent and the stories are alluring, although gloomy. All stories are women centered. Each character is either born in an unfortunate situation that seems impossible to overcome, or is knowingly making bad choices like these choices are urges that must be followed. This novel has been highly acclaimed and I understand the reasons as author Anna Noyes writing is superb. I’d recommend it to the short story fan or those who enjoy brilliant literature. I initially passed on this, but GR friend Carol peeked my interest. I’m glad I read it, as I stated before, the writing is magnificent.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This collection started out innocuously enough with the first three stoic, elegant stories, but Noyes woke me out of my peaceful short-story slumber with "Drawing Blood." I was hooked on her seemingly clear and bright prose; Noyes does pull her punches, but in a manner calculated to leave the reader to fill in the blanks, and these self-drawn conclusions were often startling. Her stories are almost like little games you're playing for the first time, figuring out the rules as you go. Standouts i This collection started out innocuously enough with the first three stoic, elegant stories, but Noyes woke me out of my peaceful short-story slumber with "Drawing Blood." I was hooked on her seemingly clear and bright prose; Noyes does pull her punches, but in a manner calculated to leave the reader to fill in the blanks, and these self-drawn conclusions were often startling. Her stories are almost like little games you're playing for the first time, figuring out the rules as you go. Standouts include "Glow Baby," "Goodnight, Beautiful Women," and "This Is Who She Was."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    The women in this collection of stories are raw and believable. They aren't 'ideal' and that is why I loved Goodnight, Beautiful Women. Not at all the sort of stories you bury you nose in for a beach read, because you don't tread lightly here. "These days naked she feels all head, where the thoughts are whirring. It is a burden to carry and soap this creature body, all of its many parts. Coccyx, tailbone, scapula." Sometimes you just need to read something heavy, about women whose thinking has tu The women in this collection of stories are raw and believable. They aren't 'ideal' and that is why I loved Goodnight, Beautiful Women. Not at all the sort of stories you bury you nose in for a beach read, because you don't tread lightly here. "These days naked she feels all head, where the thoughts are whirring. It is a burden to carry and soap this creature body, all of its many parts. Coccyx, tailbone, scapula." Sometimes you just need to read something heavy, about women whose thinking has turned dark, women who are numb or indifferent or lost. The first story Hibernation, still has it's soggy hands in me. It is disturbing and terribly sad. "Maybe whatever it was that took Jack was already there, incubating." Beautifully written, this entire collection kept me up all night. I felt the characters burdens and fears- the hungry needs. With gorgeous sentences like this " All my friends had straight white smiles. It's unsettling- a beautiful young woman with a smile like a witch." the author doesn't have to tell you the struggles the women within live through, their thoughts and experiences shout about their lives full of biting teeth. Hard luck, indifference, abandonment, illness, abuse, toxic love... fantastic. Sometimes you find a collection that fits your mood and I hope Anna Noyes writes a full novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    3.5 stars "Every day I had nice, quiet thoughts. Kept my shadow self at bay. She was there, in the mirror. Frenzied and dangerous, her body a cloud of buzzing beetles."* These eleven short stories were portraits of women and girls who were not in control of what was happening to them in the snippets of time we met them. The reasons for this sometimes were in their pasts – mental or physical abuse, neglect or abandonment; other times it was the discovery of their own darker side which they struggle 3.5 stars "Every day I had nice, quiet thoughts. Kept my shadow self at bay. She was there, in the mirror. Frenzied and dangerous, her body a cloud of buzzing beetles."* These eleven short stories were portraits of women and girls who were not in control of what was happening to them in the snippets of time we met them. The reasons for this sometimes were in their pasts – mental or physical abuse, neglect or abandonment; other times it was the discovery of their own darker side which they struggled to accept thus often becoming self-destructive, unable to connect with those who loved them. I really liked how the stories were written, they were all absorbing. However, leaving the characters in the same or worse place than I found them felt unsatisfying. And although each story had an individuality there was a repetitiveness that started to bug me in the second half of the collection. Favorite story: Drawing Blood. *quote taken from Changeling Read with Sofia; Sep 2016

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I insanely loved this book. Dark and sad yet beautiful writing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    lisa

    These stories were just not that interesting. I found myself caring less and less about them as I struggled through the book. If I hadn't won an ARC from a giveaway listed on Goodreads I probably wouldn't have read them all. I couldn't tell if the author was going for magical realism, desperate characters, or both, or neither. She seemed to come close to some of these themes, but she never quite made it clear where here stories were landing. I love short stories, but I couldn't tell exactly why These stories were just not that interesting. I found myself caring less and less about them as I struggled through the book. If I hadn't won an ARC from a giveaway listed on Goodreads I probably wouldn't have read them all. I couldn't tell if the author was going for magical realism, desperate characters, or both, or neither. She seemed to come close to some of these themes, but she never quite made it clear where here stories were landing. I love short stories, but I couldn't tell exactly why these were written. They didn't seem to have much to say, and the characters felt flat, and too unemotional for me, except when they did inexplicably bizarre things. This was a miss for me. I probably won't recommend it for purchase.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    You know what is really hard and terrible? Being a woman. Also apparently living in Maine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes is a debut collection of eleven short stories featuring girls and women living in Maine. Most of the young women in this collection are doomed by circumstances or life or bad choices. The tone of these stories is dark and melancholy - you will feel that failure and depression is seemingly just around every corner and no redemption is in sight. The quality of the descriptions and emotions of the women and girls portrayed is well done and notable. Most of th Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes is a debut collection of eleven short stories featuring girls and women living in Maine. Most of the young women in this collection are doomed by circumstances or life or bad choices. The tone of these stories is dark and melancholy - you will feel that failure and depression is seemingly just around every corner and no redemption is in sight. The quality of the descriptions and emotions of the women and girls portrayed is well done and notable. Most of the stories end without a firm conclusion, denouement, or closure, which didn't work for me in every case. There was a point where the stories began to meld together into an overarching pattern of damaged women and confused girls struggling against the odds which are never in their favor. Contents include: Hibernation:A woman's husband drowns himself. Treelaw: A young woman's story is told after her father's suicide. Safe As Houses: A thirteen year old girl tries to process the fact that a girl was raped near her house. Drawing Blood: A young woman in the early 1900's begins an affair with the girl her family took in as a maid. The Quarry: Two sisters discuss whether or not they are white trash. Glow Baby: A woman takes her daughter with her as she leaves her partner. Goodnight, Beautiful Women: A teenager takes a road trip with her family during which her mother abandons her stepfather at one of their stops. Werewolf: A young woman looks back at a lie she told as a child. This Is Who She Was: A pregnant college student goes on vacation with her boyfriend's family. Changeling: A woman on a bus trip thinks a woman might be the mother who abandoned her. Homecoming: A woman feels hopeless when she moves back to her hometown with her husband. Disclosure: My digital advanced reading copy was courtesy of Grove/Atlantic for review purposes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kama Post

    This is a book of vaguely interconnected short stories featuring women in varying stages of their lives, experiencing varying degrees of latent dissatisfaction. Many reviewers use the words "dark" and "depressing" in their reviews, but I deeply disagree. Noyes captures the undercurrents of life in a glass jar, pokes holes in the lid, and lets us peer in with one eye closed. There is beauty in every one of these stories. A profound beauty that could be mistaken for sadness because it is so close This is a book of vaguely interconnected short stories featuring women in varying stages of their lives, experiencing varying degrees of latent dissatisfaction. Many reviewers use the words "dark" and "depressing" in their reviews, but I deeply disagree. Noyes captures the undercurrents of life in a glass jar, pokes holes in the lid, and lets us peer in with one eye closed. There is beauty in every one of these stories. A profound beauty that could be mistaken for sadness because it is so close to the truth of the human spirit that it is almost hard to look at straight on. But Noyes does it with grace and care. I recognized myself in a lot of these women, and I believe that's a writer's job: to express what we have trouble expressing, shine a light on a truth we can only see the edges of, but have never dared to venture to the core. She does this quite lyrically. If each story is an ocean, each paragraph is a flowing current, each sentence a wave that washes over you, again and again. No drama, no tricks, no manipulation. A few of the endings left me breathless. Not because something astonishing happened, but because nothing at all really happened, and that was perfect.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lara Ryan

    Before learning anything about this book, I first read that Goodnight, Beautiful Women was set among the mysterious lives of New England women (“moving along the Maine Coast”). Since I’m a New England girl myself, who is infatuated with the Maine Coast, it seemed like an undeniable fit. Then I started reading the book. I quickly learned that it was a collection of short stories. Stories willed with darkness. The writing is quite intelligent and more literary as most short stories are. Because it’ Before learning anything about this book, I first read that Goodnight, Beautiful Women was set among the mysterious lives of New England women (“moving along the Maine Coast”). Since I’m a New England girl myself, who is infatuated with the Maine Coast, it seemed like an undeniable fit. Then I started reading the book. I quickly learned that it was a collection of short stories. Stories willed with darkness. The writing is quite intelligent and more literary as most short stories are. Because it’s a snapshot in the characters live, there isn’t time for a beginning, middle and end. Really, presumably, just a part of the middle. There’s no chance for closure in these stories. Just haunting, depressing, real life sadness. After reading this (in full), I ready through other reviews and many other readers couldn’t get past the darkness and would not finish it. I got through this book much quicker than any of the most recent other books I have read. Perhaps it was because it was short stories, but I did not find the depressing nature of the stories a reason to stop reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Dark and rather wonderful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andy Miller

    This is an interesting collection of short stories about women who live in coastal towns in New England. They are "local" women often living hardscrabble contrasted with the women who vacation or summer in their towns. Some of my favorites: I read "Treelaw" twice, a testament to the story's nuance and twists. Early in the story the narrator takes her daughter to a country store and sees Mandy "When she spotted me, I looked quickly away so we had a chance to pretend we didn't recognize each other This is an interesting collection of short stories about women who live in coastal towns in New England. They are "local" women often living hardscrabble contrasted with the women who vacation or summer in their towns. Some of my favorites: I read "Treelaw" twice, a testament to the story's nuance and twists. Early in the story the narrator takes her daughter to a country store and sees Mandy "When she spotted me, I looked quickly away so we had a chance to pretend we didn't recognize each other." Instead, Mandy is somewhat friendly, and ends the conversation by saying that they were still family no matter what. The story's flashbacks then tell how the narrator grew up with no mother and a neglectful, poor dad and how Mandy's family helped her throughout the years before paid back with betrayal. A similar story is "Drawing Blood" though this one is told by the daughter of the more well to do family who helps a girl of the same age from a dysfunctional family who lost their home. The story is recalled many years after the two girls were somewhat sisters until there is somewhat of a love triangle and the other girl is sent away after the narrator's mother announces "Eva's not the kind of girl you marry." "The Quarry" starts with Valerie telling her sister Collette"We're White Trash." The rest of the story describes the lives of the two girls who live alone with their mother in a house along an old quarry that is often used as trash disposal. The story explores the answer to Valerie's question, "Glow Baby" is told by a young girl who convinces her mom to take her on a trip that does include her dad. They go to a man's house and the details of the young girl's observations allow the reader to fill in the blanks. The "other" man finally calls the girl's dad to tell him where the girl and mom are and the reader is left with a mixture of kindness and sadness There are other great stories in this collection which make it a well worth read

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ericka Seidemann

    Goodnight, Beautiful Women is a debut collection of eleven interconnected short narratives all revolving around young girls and burgeoning women in coastal Maine. I would not call this a collection of short stories; rather, they are brief scenes that give an overall sense of the confusion of desires of young women on the verge of understanding the motives of men. The writing in this collection is intense. Noyes' imagery in these short narratives creates piercing anticipation. The scenes she creat Goodnight, Beautiful Women is a debut collection of eleven interconnected short narratives all revolving around young girls and burgeoning women in coastal Maine. I would not call this a collection of short stories; rather, they are brief scenes that give an overall sense of the confusion of desires of young women on the verge of understanding the motives of men. The writing in this collection is intense. Noyes' imagery in these short narratives creates piercing anticipation. The scenes she creates are gripping from the outset, with familiar but haunting characters. I loved the fullness of the stories she wove. One of my favorites, "Drawing Blood", was reminiscent of Sarah Waters' historical fiction. The stories are all about relationships, between husbands and wives, or between mothers and daughters, or first loves. The stories are dark, melancholy, and without redemption, usually leaving the main character hopeless. The thing about literary short stories, however, is that often they're just not stories. The stories in Goodnight, Beautiful Women were scenes, or paintings, or like the beginning-middle chapters of a powerful novel. These stories present an overall mysterious feeling of depression, but they weren't stories as I'm used to stories. I'm expecting a beginning/middle/end story arc, an enticing story with a satisfying denouement, and that is not what you get here. With each of these stories Noyes easily grabbed my heart with riveting beginnings and then left me, wilted and abandoned, wondering what happened. Noyes definitely has the skill and literary chutzpah to pull off a great collection here, but if you're like me and like resolution, you may be disappointed. I'm looking forward to her next work. Many thanks to Netgalley, Grove Atlantic, and Anna Noyes for the advance copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lesia Joukova

    I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 63% :( Unfortunately, this book left no lasting impression on me. I have been at quite a conflict with myself through the book and I stopped reading more than halfway through the stories. The author favors short sentences that leave the impression of excerpts. Her way of telling the story of her many heroines is such that despite their unfortunate circumstances I was unable to connect with any of the charac I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 63% :( Unfortunately, this book left no lasting impression on me. I have been at quite a conflict with myself through the book and I stopped reading more than halfway through the stories. The author favors short sentences that leave the impression of excerpts. Her way of telling the story of her many heroines is such that despite their unfortunate circumstances I was unable to connect with any of the characters. The women's thought process completely escaped me, or more accurately, was not thoroughly explored and I ended up with a feeling of seeing a story without a beginning, nor end, without any conclusion or moral. While I appreciate the effort in highlighting stories of women who have suffered setbacks and come from all walks of life, I don't really see the appeal in these bits and pieces. Every woman makes choices that are logical in her situation but those choices don't make me, as the reader, feel anything: neither sympathy nor very strong antipathy. There is just no helping it but it was not my kind of read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I really enjoyed this collection. It's reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge, not just geographically (nearly all of the stories take place in a hard-scrabble Maine town), but in the way you have the feeling all of these characters' stories are linked, though Noyes doesn't link them explicitly as Strout does. They're also beautifully written and poignant. What I loved most about them is the different kinds of love and relationships depicted--love between mothers and daughters, stepdaughters and stepfa I really enjoyed this collection. It's reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge, not just geographically (nearly all of the stories take place in a hard-scrabble Maine town), but in the way you have the feeling all of these characters' stories are linked, though Noyes doesn't link them explicitly as Strout does. They're also beautifully written and poignant. What I loved most about them is the different kinds of love and relationships depicted--love between mothers and daughters, stepdaughters and stepfathers, sisters, estranged friends. Sadness hangs heavy over all of these stories, but it's not strangling. Noyes does a great job of writing in young womens' voices, young women who have yet to face all they will face in the world, but who are nonetheless getting warmed up to all of the pain before their time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I was a giveaway winner of this ARC book. "Goodnight Beautiful Women" I would give this a 3.5. It is comprised of 11 short stories. Most are narrated in the first person. Most of the towns take place in towns along the East Coast. A few of the stories look like they could overlap. For example in three of the stories part of the plot takes place in or around a "Quarry". I found that i liked some of the stories more than others. A couple were a bit confusing to me. My favorite story was called "We I was a giveaway winner of this ARC book. "Goodnight Beautiful Women" I would give this a 3.5. It is comprised of 11 short stories. Most are narrated in the first person. Most of the towns take place in towns along the East Coast. A few of the stories look like they could overlap. For example in three of the stories part of the plot takes place in or around a "Quarry". I found that i liked some of the stories more than others. A couple were a bit confusing to me. My favorite story was called "Werewolf" A young woman looks back to when she was six and lied about an intellectually disabled cousin" I like how she made up for the lie she told about her cousin Paul who had downs syndrome. Most of the stories are pretty good. The author Anna Noyes has a good imagination. I think readers who enjoy short stories will like this book. I did.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Artemisia Hunt

    One of the measures of a good short story is finding characters who have the ability to draw you into their inner lives in just a few pages. Not all of the characters in Goodnight Beautiful Women are ones we can love, but are probably still ones we can relate to. Their flaws and their foibles, their self-doubt and over-confidence, their innocence and their craftiness are all on display as they struggle with life in sometimes harsh and unforgiving situations and locales. Author Anna Noyes has mas One of the measures of a good short story is finding characters who have the ability to draw you into their inner lives in just a few pages. Not all of the characters in Goodnight Beautiful Women are ones we can love, but are probably still ones we can relate to. Their flaws and their foibles, their self-doubt and over-confidence, their innocence and their craftiness are all on display as they struggle with life in sometimes harsh and unforgiving situations and locales. Author Anna Noyes has masterfully brought us into the mysterious inner folds of these women's lives in a way that is at once fearlessly honest and radiantly tender.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Nicely written book of short stories. Short stories are a difficult sell, particularly when they appear to be possibly interconnecting and are collected in one volume- but interconnecting stories actually are a novel. These women aren't all equally interesting and you might not find them all likable or agree with their choices but there are positives here. My quibble is that I would have liked more of a sense of place. If you like short stories then this is a good volume to try. Remember to thin Nicely written book of short stories. Short stories are a difficult sell, particularly when they appear to be possibly interconnecting and are collected in one volume- but interconnecting stories actually are a novel. These women aren't all equally interesting and you might not find them all likable or agree with their choices but there are positives here. My quibble is that I would have liked more of a sense of place. If you like short stories then this is a good volume to try. Remember to think of this as a book to dip in and out of. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

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