Thursday, September 20, 2007


The NY Times has a review of Ann Patchett’s new (and much anticipated) novel Run.

Below is a brief excerpt from Janet Maslin's review.

“Run,” with a title that suggests many things (including Kenya’s athletic prowess and Doyle’s political drive), and with a watery looking cover that reflects the whole book’s aura of a human aquarium, becomes an elegant mélange of family ties. Ms. Patchett gives her readers much to contemplate when genetics, privilege, opportunity and nurture come into play. And to her credit she is neither vague nor reductive about any of these things; she creates a genuinely rich landscape of human possibility. If she does not wildly exploit the drama of colliding fates on a snowy night and subsequent life-or-death medical crisis, there are plenty of other writers who tell such stories.

“Run” is muted only insofar as its characters are all so accomplished, their natures so decent and their barbs so civilized. It’s as if the story’s racial nuances, which are rendered almost nonexistent, are still present enough to preclude any rough edges.

Ms. Patchett showed no such restraint in “Bel Canto,” a more astonishing book and a less inhibited one. But “Run” still shimmers with its author’s rarefied eloquence, and with the deep resonance of her insights. When Kenya arrives at the Doyle home, a place she has looked at with longing all her life, and is given one of the boys’ white T-shirts to sleep in, Ms. Patchett invokes the image of a ship’s sail. That’s an exquisitely simple image of how much Kenya’s life has changed overnight.


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Thomas Hogglestock said...

Wow, maybe I should take Omar's advice, right after I send my bank account information to that nice person in Nigeria.

Anyway, I just got my copy of Run today. Dying to read it, but decided to savor it a bit. Is there a particular Patchett work you like best?

Joe said...

Personally, I've always been concerned about those nice Christian widows of missionary preachers who need a good Christian man to help dispose of their fortunes.

My favorite Patchett is probably The Patron Saint of Liars, but Bel Canto is the most well written of her novels.

The Magician's Assistant is my least favorite, but I've never been disappointed by Patchett.

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