11 Best Ann Patchett Books Update 05/2022

Best Ann Patchett Books

She is a popular author if you like to read books, so you’re likely to have heard of her. Her new book, “The Dutch House,” is great. She also owns an independent bookstore in Nashville called Parnassus Books that is very popular with people in the city. But did you know Patchett has a lot of other great books? And that she has also written nonfiction, as well? You can use this guide to Ann Patchett’s books to figure out where to start reading her work.

Who Is Ann Patchett?

Patchett is a best-selling author and owner of a bookstore. In 1963, she was born in Los Angeles. She grew up in Nashville, where she lived until she was 18. She wrote her first book, “The Patron Saint of Liars,” in 1992 after attending Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Since then, she has written seven more novels and three nonfiction books, as well as a lot of other things. As of 2011, she had opened a book store in Nashville called Parnassus Books. Though I have read Patchett’s nonfiction, I think of her mostly as a novelist, even though I enjoy her work. She knows how to let the characters come to light over time, and it’s a lot of fun to just read a Patchett book and not think about anything else.

Where to Start With Ann Patchett Books

Bel Canto

Bel Canto

Bel Canto isn’t Patchett’s first book, but it’s the one that made her a big name. There were two awards for fiction that it won: the Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The book is set in an unknown South American country at a party for a Japanese businessman who is visiting. It is because he likes opera that the party has an American soprano at it. In fact, members of a terrorist group crash the party, mistaking it for an event where the country’s president will be there. The party then takes an abrupt turn. Everyone who is in this strange, tense situation learns more about themselves and each other in the standoff. Bel Canto is a good place to start because it shows Patchett’s ability to keep track of multiple character arcs and complicated relationships. It’s beautiful, intense, and moving. When she hosts parties, she’s very good at writing them.

Commonwealth

This is my favorite book by Patchett. It starts with another party scene, this time a boozy christening party that starts an affair and leads to two divorces, a new family, and a move across the country. If you read this book, you might think you’re reading about the lives of people you know. That’s what she says. The book takes place over 50 years, and it’s interesting to see how these characters change, fall apart, and come back together again. If you want to read a book that is both old and new at the same time, this is the book for you.

Truth and Beauty

It tells the story of Patchet’s friendship with Lucy Grealy, a writer who died of an overdose in 2002, and how they were both very close. Grealy had cancer when she was a child, which meant that part of her jawbone had to be removed and she had to have a lot of reconstructive surgery. In her memoir, Autobiography of a Face, she talks about how this changed her life in a very beautiful way. People who went to graduate school together had a close friendship that depended on each other. That friendship is told in Truth and Beauty. It’s a beautiful story about the love between two friends and what happens when one of them has a problem that the other can’t help with. Then, before you read her other books, you’ll get to know Patchett as a person.

Must-Reads

The Dutch House

The Dutch House

Patchett’s most recent book has a fairytale-like quality that will make you fall in love with it. It is called the Dutch House because it is a big house where Danny and Maeve live with their father, a real estate mogul. There was no sign of their mother since she left when they were very young. Andrea, Danny and Maeve’s new stepmother, moves into the Dutch House. She will ban them from their own home. In flashbacks, Danny talks about his life. Maeve and Danny try and fail to move on with their own lives. The book is a look at obsession, loss, regret, and family ties in a way that is both simple and insightful.

State of Wonder

She is sent to the Amazon rainforest to find out what happened when one of her colleagues died in mysterious ways. Another person, Dr. Swenson, is still there, but it’s hard to find him. Marina has to think about her own memories and relationships in order to find out about the amazing, potentially world-changing research that the two have done.

The Patron Saint of Liars

A Kentucky home for single mothers is the setting of Patchett’s first book. Even after her daughter is born, Rose Clinton stays at St. Elizabeth’s and makes a home there for herself and the baby. She and the baby live with nuns and patients who come and go. But Rose has a past that she left behind, and even St. Elizabeth’s can’t keep it out of her life any longer.

What Now?

This short piece of nonfiction is based on a speech Patchett gave at Sarah Lawrence in 2006. When she graduated from college, she was wondering, “What now?” Lovely and easy to read.

Extra Credit

Run

Run

The characters in many of Patchett’s books have been around for years, and it’s fun to learn more about them one by one. Run, on the other hand, takes place in Boston during one 24-hour period. Tip and Teddy are twins who are both black and have been raised in a white home. Their father, a former mayor of Boston, has high hopes for them. Their family is built on the fact that they don’t fight and they don’t get hurt.

The Magician’s Assistant

In this book, Sabine is the wife of a magician, so it’s about the wife of a magician’s assistant! When he dies and Sabine learns that he left her a last trick, she sets out to find out what he did. People from the man’s family, who she thought had died, turn out to be alive and named in his will. It turns out that her husband had a lot of secrets, and Sabine wants to tell them all.

Taft

It hurts John when the mother of his son moves away with their child. It’s Fay, a new waitress at his bar in Memphis. She also has a brother named Carl, and they come into his life. A lot of stories about Taft have drawn John in. He likes both of them and especially the stories about their recently deceased father. Soon, John will be making up his own version of Taft’s life in this moving look at fatherhood.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Patchett’s book is a mix of memoir and essays that tells the story of many of her most important experiences, like how she became a writer and decided to open a book store. Patchett is a good narrator who makes even the smallest things seem important, and that’s very evident in this book.

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