If you’ve read and enjoyed Ann Patchett’s exceptional novels Bel Canto and State of Wonder, you will likely also want to read her memoir This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Patchett’s style, eye for detail, and skilled ability to write not only great prose but also great action greatly impress me, and I found myself wanting to study the way that she used everyday events as terrific essay fodder in the book.
The memoir is composed of essays Patchett originally published elsewhere (she made her living freelancing for a long time) and some new works. She beautifully ties together thoughts on all sorts of things from writing to marriage to her friendship with some old nuns who used to be her teachers. It’s amazing how she fits all of this together and writes with so much poise and feeling.
Writers of all stripes will get something fromThis Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (memoirists, you definitely ought to read it), but I think it would appeal to a wider range of readers, even those who aren’t writers or particular fans of memoir. Patchett’s way of seeing life is interesting and thought-provoking. And if you haven’t read her novels yet, you are missing out!
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