Tag Archives: Ann Patchett

COMMONWEALTH: A PICTURE PUZZLE IN PIECES. BOOK COMMENT

Commonwealth: a Novel
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: Harper Collins 2016
Genre: Literary Fiction
Hardcover Edition: 322 pages
Source: Library copy

At baby Franny’s christening party, her mother Beverly Keating begins an affair with an uninvited guest, Bert Cousins and thus begins a saga of two sets of parents and six children that spans five decades. Dissolutions of marriages, disillusionment of dreams and strange and hurtful episodes are wrapped in humor and heartbreak. This sounds like a story best avoided. And yet, the critics and the press in general continue to rave. It turns out with good reason.

Patchett is more magician than writer. Her scenes are both magic and near perfection. She drops us into different encounters between the characters at different points in their lives, and yet we understand and care about her characters until our reading hearts break for them.

She is the author of a number of books. Bel Canto is a classic mentioned by Jessica Best in her interview posted this past week. Critics and readers love her work. It is hard to believe that even Bel Canto is as good as this book. Family lost and family shared. Never have I read a finer story of a family though I love Jane Smiley’s work. Always, Patchett shows compassion and humanity for her characters and their circumstances.

The story seems a miraculous creation. Oh, I already said that, didn’t I. I guess because there is so little venom and so much love and caring while remaining realistic. I couldn’t stop reading because I cared so much about the people she created. Yes, I had my favorites and at least one unfavorite and yet, they all fit together like pieces of a puzzle, which of course is what families so often are: a picture puzzle, sometimes broken.

ANN PATCHETT’S PARNASSUS BOOKS IN NASHVILLE

photo[1]

It’s time to celebrate another independent bookstore. This one is owned by author Ann Patchett and can be found on Hillsboro Pike in Nashville, Tennessee.

I loved hearing Ann Patchett’s account of the excitement of the bookstore business in her recent memoir. (The Story of A Happy Marriage, review in the April Archives) I planned a visit there first chance that came along. Here we are in Nashville, Tennessee. Come along for a tour.

photo[2]

Books are the stars in this place. Must be one of the reasons I love bookstores so much.
photo[3]

Greetings from Books New This Week meet me right inside the door.

photo[5]

Friendly staff and happy patrons are a good mix.
photo[6]

One hallmark of this place is the feel of endless books communicated here, an important key to this bookstore’s welcome to book lovers.

photo[7]

The store features well marked genres and an inviting organization.

photo[8]

photo[18]

photo[17]

photo[16]

photo[15]

Mysteries stacked to the ceiling are ready to add intrigue to your summer.

photo[22]

The children’s section has its own charm. Books and more books. All kind of interesting things here.. The area is inviting.

photo[11]

photo[12]

photo

Ann Patchett has some picks worth a second look.

photo[20]

Here’s a favorite table with new fiction.

photo[21]

This book store is current and fun.

Picks for Dad’s Special Day

photo[14]

Exciting Author events. I’d like to be there for most of these.

photo[9]

Lots of stuff for book lovers.

photo[10]

When you visit here, you will have book recommendations to last a lifetime.

This was a hard place to say good-bye. Hope you can visit some time.

Here’s the link to the bookstore website, always open for browsing.

www.parnassusbooks.net

TAKING A LONG WALK WITH A NEW FRIEND AND HER DOG

Unknown-2

This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2013
Genre: Memoir, essays
Hardcover edition: 306 pages
Source: Personal Copy

These memorable essays allow the reader to feel like he or she is on a long walk with a new friend, learning to know something of her experiences and personality. Ann Patchett reveals those things from her life she wishes to reveal. But it is the telling that is extraordinary.

What does she share? She cares about people she loves: her grandmother, a nun who was once her teacher, a close friend, her husband and other family members. For many years she lives and loves with her beloved dog Rose. I could read her essay on writing at least once every few months. It’s titled “The Getaway Car.” Something of her relationship with the father she spent little time with as a child is poignantly revealed in the interesting story of her preparation to enter the Los Angeles Police Academy in “The Wall.” And there is more.

The book is readable and I flew through it enjoying every essay and seldom if ever stopping to take notes. I felt a connection with her when she told that her to-do list always has the task she likes least at the top of the list. Writing is its own list and comes first with a dedicated time period. Her Nashville bookstore Parnassus is a must-visit for me, though I don’t yet have it scheduled. It’s so much fun to hear the details and feel the emotions of the independent book business.

If you know Ann Patchett’s writing, or if you have never heard of her, I highly recommend this memoir about the art and craft of writing, her personal experiences and life stories. After reading her memoir, I want to read more of her books. I don’t want my walk with Ann Patchett to end.

Listed below are some of her titles, beginning with a must-read, followed by others in no particular order.

Bel Canto, fiction
State of Wonder, fiction
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, memoir
Run, fiction

And if you read and enjoy memoir, This Is The Story of A Happy Marriage is likely to be at the top of your list.

Comments are always welcomed.