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Updated: Aug 11, 2019

The novel opens in 1964 at a seemingly innocuous christening party. An uninvited guest arrives bearing a bottle of gin and a chain of events gets set in motion. Patchett jumps around with her timeline and doesn’t immediately follow the most sympathetic characters choosing instead to flesh out the least as you piece together how two completely separate families join together and how a tragic event begins to unwind them apart again.

This novel reminded me at times of Richard Yates and others of Richard Russo but Ann Patchett out shines both with ease, with precision, with damn fine writing and simply beautiful storytelling. This is probably one of Ann Patchett’s most personal novels (after reading This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage you can recognise some inspirations for her own life) but unlike one of the novel’s protagonists she manages to keep some distance between truth and fiction.

Ann Patchett has written a novel of immense beauty, charm, sadness and tragedy. She will have you laughing out loud as you read one minute and wiping a tear away the next. This is a book I could have, and still want, to read forever. I did not want it to end so lost I became, not just in the story and the characters Ann Patchett so vividly brings to life, but also in the words and way she tells her story. This book is quite simply marvellous. This is an American Classic in the making.

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ISBN: 9781408880395 ISBN-10: 1408880393 Classification: Fiction & related items » Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945) Format: Paperback (216mm x 135mm x mm) Pages: 336 Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC Publish Date: 8-Sep-2016 Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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