Bestselling author and Orange Prize winner Ann Patchett's first work of non-fiction is a searing, emotionally wrenching account of her long friendship with the critically acclaimed, and recently deceased author, Lucy Grealy. 'It is remarkable for me to remember now that I thought it would be possible to walk away from her, that she might have gone ...
Bestselling author and Orange Prize winner Ann Patchett's first work of non-fiction is a searing, emotionally wrenching account of her long friendship with the critically acclaimed, and recently deceased author, Lucy Grealy. 'It is remarkable for me to remember now that I thought it would be possible to walk away from her, that she might have gone on living, but without me. I know now I never would have had the strength of my convictions. I am living in a world without Lucy. I have no choice about that. If she were alive and I had that choice, I wouldn't have been able to last without her for a day.' What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honour for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction,Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett shines light on the little explored world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together. Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writer's Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about the first half of her life: losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined. This is a tender, yet sometimes brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.
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Interesting memoir by the author of Bel Canto, and The Patron Saint of Liars. The story concerns the author's twenty-plus year relationship with her best friend, poet Lucy Grealy. Though both women attended Sarah Lawrence College, their friendship did not begin until they enrolled in the Iowa Writer's Workshop after graduating.
They supported each other in writing and in life for the next two decades, until Lucy's lifelong struggle with cancer began to manifest itself in depression and drug abuse. The story is really about Patchett's love for her friend Lucy, and is a beautiful depiction of the depths of female friendships in general. I really enjoyed it and reading about Patchett's process of creating her novels made me want to read them all again, too!
Publishers Weekly, 2004-03-29 This memoir of Patchett's friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy shares many insights into the nature of devotion. One of the best instances of this concerns a fable of ants and grasshoppers. When winter came, the hard-working ant took the fun-loving grasshopper in, each understanding their roles were immutable. It was a symbiotic relationship. Like the grasshopper, Grealy, who died of cancer at age 39 in 2002, was an untethered creature, who liked nothing more than to dance, drink and fling herself into Patchett's arms like a kitten. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars; Bel Canto) tells this story chronologically, in bursts of dialogue, memory and snippets of Grealy's letters, moving from the unfolding of their deep connection in graduate school and into the more turbulent waters beyond. Patchett describes her attempts to be a writer, while Grealy endured a continuous round of operations as a result of her cancer. Later, when adulthood brought success, but also heartbreak and drug addiction, the duo continued to be intertwined, even though their link sometimes seemed to fray. This gorgeously written chronicle unfolds as an example of how friendships can contain more passion and affection than any in the romantic realm. And although Patchett unflinchingly describes the difficulties she and Grealy faced in the years after grad school, she never loses the feeling she had the first time Grealy sprang into her arms: "[She] came through the door and it was there, huge and permanent and first." Agent, Lisa Bankoff. (May 14) Forecast: Patchett and Grealy are graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, and alumni and other literary types will be interested in this book. National advertising and a reading group guide could make it popular among a more general women's audience. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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