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The Patron Saint of Liarsby Ann Patchett
Synopses & Reviews
St. Elizabeth's is a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. Life there is not unpleasant, and for most, it is temporary. Not so for Rose, a beautiful, mysterious woman who comes to the home pregnant but not unwed. She plans to give up her baby because she knows she cannot be the mother it needs. But St. Elizabeth's is near a healing spring, and when Rose's time draws near, she cannot go through with her plans, not all of them. And she cannot remain forever untouched by what she has left behind...and who she has become in the leaving.
"Patchett's first novel...has a quiet summer-morning sensibility that reminds one of the early work of Anne Tyler....In an assured, warm, and graceful style, a moving novel..." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] thoughtful first novel....[A] complex character study of a woman driven by forces she can neither understand nor control." Library Journal
"Ann Patchett has written such a good first novel that among the many pleasures it offers is the anticipation of how wonderful her second, third, and fourth will surely be....It is a world that Ms. Patchett draws with wit and imagination....It is about pilgrimage and healing. A made-up story of an enchanted place. A fairy tale. A delight." Alice McDermott, New York Times Book Review
"A remarkable first novel...the voice is fresh and winning and the images linger....'A Patron Saint of Liars' is everything a novel should be, rich in beautiful language and tender wisdom." Susan Larsen, New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Perhaps this novel's greatest accomplishment is that we become as yearning and uncertain as the characters themselves — we search for a divine pattern to their lives, yet are surprisingly accepting of the author's reluctance to trace it for us." New Yorker
"Beautifully written....Ann Patchett has produced a first novel that second- and third-time novelists would envy for its grace, insight, and compassion." Boston Herald
Set at St. Elizabeth's in Habit, Kentucky, this is the story of Rose, an obstinate young woman fleeing her first marriage who seeks temporary sanctuary but instead finds a place among the nuns when she decides to keep her child and marry the groundskeeper.
In the midst of the American Civil War, a southern plantation owner's wife is arrested by her husband and declared insane for interfering with his slaves. She is sent to an island mental asylum to come to terms with her wrongdoing, but instead finds love and escape with a war-haunted Confederate soldier.
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property. On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents--some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris. The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded "water treatment." She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home? Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom. http://www.hmhbooks.com/blueasylum/
About the Author
Ann Patchett was born in 1963 in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has published fiction in various magazines, including The Paris Review and Seventeen. The Patron Saint of Liars was her first novel and was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is also the author of Taft and The Magician's Assistant.
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