November 2013Readers familiar with Patchett's fiction, from The Patron Saint of Liars to Bel Canto and State of Wonder, treasure her imaginative and heartfelt stories. Truth & Beauty, her memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy, defines loyalty and friendship. Now, in this essay collection, she confirms what her readers have always known: we would love to be her neighbor, knowing that she would wash our mud-soaked clothes in her dry laundry room after a flood; we would share her heartbreak when her dog Rosie died; we would cheer her feisty dedication to uncensored reading and bookselling. The story of her happy marriage is one her fans will savor. Patchett deserves this joy. -- Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
The New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto creates a resonant portrait of a life in this collection of writings on love, friendship, work, and art.
"The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living."
So begins This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, an examination of the things Ann Patchett is fully committed to--the art and craft of writing, the depths of friendship, an elderly dog, and one spectacular nun. Writing nonfiction, which started off as a means of keeping her insufficiently lucrative fiction afloat, evolved over time to be its own kind of art, the art of telling the truth as opposed to the art of making things up. Bringing her narrative gifts to bear on her own life, Patchett uses insight and compassion to turn very personal experiences into stories that will resonate with every reader.
These essays twine to create both a portrait of life and a philosophy of life. Obstacles that at first appear insurmountable--scaling a six-foot wall in order to join the Los Angeles Police Department, opening an independent bookstore, and sitting down to write a novel--are eventually mastered with quiet tenacity and a sheer force of will. The actual happy marriage, which was the one thing she felt she wasn't capable of, ultimately proves to be a metaphor as well as a fact: Patchett has devoted her life to the people and ideals she loves the most.
An irresistible blend of literature and memoir, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a unique examination of the heart, mind, and soul of one of our most revered and gifted writers.