redrockbookworm, July 22, 2008 (view all comments by redrockbookworm)
I am an admirer of Ann Patchett and two of her previous works; Bel Canto and Patron Saint of Liars. Run contains many thematic similarities to her previous books but manages to approach them from a different perspective. All of Patchetts books present the reader with addictive tales about unusual and troubled characters forced by unexpected circumstances to confront and resolve compelling questions confronting them in their everyday lives.
Run is a story of intersecting destinies; an exquisite family portrait that examines aspects of love, loss, father/son relationships, religion, the black experience, political ethics, social responsibility and finally every child's quest for individual identity and their longing for parental love and approval.
Run is aptly titled since each character in this novel is running, either physically or metaphorically, toward or away from something in their lives.
Patchett's elegant prose and storytelling talent captures the subtle metamorphosis each character undergoes as well as offering the reader powerful insights into familial relationships.
This is a tale that completely involves the reader in the lives of its characters, who feel like family and continued to live on in your memory long after the last page has been turned.
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KAbbey, December 30, 2007 (view all comments by KAbbey)
Patchett has crafted another beautifully written narrative. "Run" follows the Doyle family: father Bernard, biological son Sullivan, and adopted sons Tip and Teddy. A sudden calamity brings strangers into their lives and over the course of the next twenty-four hours, their perspectives and lives are changed forever. Patchett has mastered the art of writing in a way that completely absorbs her readers. It flows so smoothly between different character's inner dialogues and past reflections. The book is filled with doubt, loss, and tragedy, but also delivers hope. I felt a connection with each character and a devotion to their lives. As good as Bel Canto, "Run" leaves me in anticipation of Patchett's next novel!! I would also recommend reading Tino Georgiou's bestselling novel--The Fates--if you missed it!
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I wanted to love this book but it was not possible. Oh, there's a lot to love - Patchett could not write a book that wasn't at least a little lovable but this one misses the mark a bit. I thought my book was missing pages towards the end ... so much time had passed between the body of the work and the ending but apparently that's what she intended. Still ... it's a good book and she's a good author - certainly better than many who are steady visitors to the "Best Sellers Lists." One can hardly call them authors - they're machines who simply re-tool their work (Patterson, Steele, etal). Patchett is a good author and I look forward to her next book.
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Ann Patchett is one of our finer story tellers writing today and certainly her latest novel RUN keeps pace (if not exceeds) with her previous works. Patchett has the uncanny ability to introduce 'facsimiles' of characters in very subtle ways, blending her ingredient characters slowly, revealing their full personalities and places in the storyline so gradually that reading about them resembles meeting new acquaintances at a party - some will fade, others will materialize as leads. In RUN, Patchett addresses mixed race adoption, responses to death, biologic versus adoptive mothers, and family dynamics, all in the course of a twenty-four hour period of time, and in doing so she compresses so much information that reading this fine novel begs for a one sitting time frame to read it from cover to cover.
Former Boston Mayor Bernard Doyle and his Irish wife Bernadette had one child - Sullivan - a lad who failed to fulfill his father's expectations of entering the political arena. Sullivan was involved in a tragedy that affected not only Sullivan and his girlfriend, but also fragmented Bernard's career. Unable to have further children, the couple adopted an African American newborn 'Teddy' only to have the child's biologic mother (Tennessee Moser) offer her 14-month-old child 'Tip' to the Doyles - an offer the Doyles happily accepted. Bernadette dies too soon and the two African American brothers are raised by Bernard: Sullivan has fled to Africa to work with AIDS patients as a means to assuage his guilt for the tragedy he caused. The story begins on a wintry night after a Jesse Jackson lecture when Tip is saved from a near tragic SUV collision by a woman who pushes him to safety - that woman being Tennessee who had been to the lecture with her eleven-year-old daughter Kenya. Tennessee is critically injured and Kenya is invited by the Doyles to stay with them while her mother is taken to the hospital: Tip's sole injury from the accident is a damaged ankle. It is the manner in which the discovery of kinship between Kenya and Tennessee and Teddy and Tip that shapes the next day's events.
Patchett gradually builds this chocolate and vanilla layered cake to allow us to see how Tennessee has secretly followed her two sons Tip and Teddy and their father, keeping her distance, but never forsaking her love and concern for her own boys. Kenya is taken in by the Doyle men, including the now returned from Africa Sullivan, and the melding of this mixed family faces the challenges of discovering roots, loss of adopted mother and re-entry of biologic mother, and the bonding of true family.
If the novel has a disappointing ending (Patchett jumps in time to four years hence that tidies up too many loose ends too quickly), that last chapter's slightly hokey summation is minor when the entire novel is considered. Patchett writes with intelligent style, elegant prose, and timely character development, creating a story that remains with the reader long after the last page. It is a fine book, worthy of the attention it is receiving on the Top 10 Lists. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
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Run, a worthy successor to Bel Canto, shows off Patchett's trademark gorgeous prose and emotional depth. Her characters are believably flawed, but ultimately good and decent human beings who you want to spend time with.
by Jill Owens
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"[L]uminous....In extraordinarily fluid prose, Patchett unfolds this story to its epiloguelike final chapter as she illuminates issues of race, religion, duty, and desire."
by Library Journal,
"[E]ngrossing and enjoyable....The somewhat unusual premise is presented very matter-of-factly; this is not a story about race but about family and the depths of parents' love of their children...and of each other. Recommended."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A family-of-man fable that reads a little too pat to ring true....Compelling story but thematically heavy-handed."
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"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."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Ann Patchett is capable of lovely work, but there isn't a believable moment in this inert novel....The loopy plot is so contrived it's hard to know what you want for these characters. It's even harder to care. (Grade: C)"
by Chicago Tribune,
"Patchett's finest work....Run is dazzling from the start; it wastes no time getting revved up....Run is a mature work, a book that feels effortlessly wrought. It is also an affirming book, and Lord knows, we could use a few more of those."
by Boston Globe,
"Run is a graceful, deceptively straightforward novel, seeming as effortless as Kenya unfolding her legs on a city street. And yet it manages to deliver a story about race, attachment, and sacrifice. Nothing easy about that."
by Cleveland Plain Dealer,
"Like Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett explores big questions without pretentiousness. Her quirky characters speak offbeat but believable dialogue. Miraculously, despite the coincidences of the plot, Run rings true."
by USA Today,
"What felt effortless in Bel Canto...is schematic and all too precious in Run....It's easy to become sarcastic about Run, which is a shame, because it's filled with lovely intentions and a few truly moving passages."
by Chicago Sun-Times,
"Patchett is a virtuoso storyteller, with an ability to create characters we can innately understand. Run is as strong and heartfelt a tale as her other works. It is funny and touching and troubling, ending like a good sermon in redemption and hope."
by Leah Hager Cohen, The New York Times Book Review,
"It's difficult to understand why an author would seed her story with potentially rich material only to refrain from exploring it. But this might explain why Patchett's characters ultimately feel less real than symbolic, as wooden as the Virgin's statue."
by The Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Patchett's efforts to depict the triumph of family in a dysfunctional world carry all the emotional heft of a Lifetime TV movie. This is fiction for people who live with their blinders on."
The highly anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Bel Canto is an engrossing story of a fateful night and day that will change everything for one Boston family. At its center, Run is about what defines family and the lengths to which we will go to protect our children.
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