Do not be misled by the title; this collection of essays by Ann Patchett is not exclusively about marriage, happy or otherwise. Rather, it is an autobiography of sorts, detailing: love and relationships, yes, but also the craft of writing; friendships human and not; and the expectations and obligations of family. My favorite pieces in the book both happen to describe Patchett's relationship with elderly women in her life--one her cantankerous grandmother, and the other a 78-year-old nun named Sister Nena, who is moving into an apartment of her own for the very first time. Those familiar with Patchett's life and work will also enjoy reading about her bookstore in Tennessee, Parnassus Books, and catching a glimpse of Lucy Grealey. A very enjoyable read.
“Readers familiar with Patchett's fiction, from The Patron Saint of Liars to Bel Canto and State of Wonder, treasure her imaginative and heartfelt stories. Truth & Beauty, her memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy, defines loyalty and friendship. Now, in this essay collection, she confirms what her readers have always known: we would love to be her neighbor, knowing that she would wash our mud-soaked clothes in her dry laundry room after a flood; we would share her heartbreak when her dog Rosie died; we would cheer her feisty dedication to uncensored reading and bookselling. The story of her happy marriage is one her fans will savor. Patchett deserves this joy.”
— Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband—creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.
As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.
About the Author
ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer, Lucy Grealy, What now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays.
“I had been so engaged by Ann Patchett’s multifaceted story, so lured in by her confiding voice, that I forgot I was on the job. […] As the best personal essays often do, Patchett’s is a two-way mirror, reflecting both the author and her readers.” — New York Times Book Review
“Patchett’s mastery of nonfiction [is] every bit the equal of her skill as a novelist.” — Shelf Awareness
“All the essays were a joy to read...No matter your interest, you’ll find words in this book that speak to you.” — Real Simple
“Each of the essays is its own delight and resonates with warmth and humor… If read straight through, the book presents a lovely and lyrical look at a life well lived.” — Library Journal
“Readable and candid, Patchett’s collection is a joyful celebration of life, love and the written word.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Reading Patchett is like spending time with a deeply perceptive longtime pal, or a new friend that one instantly connects with.” — USA Today
“[A] sparkling collection.” — The New Yorker
“Happy marriage, compelling writing and all worthy endeavor requires hard work. That’s Patchett’s strength. And she does a fine job.” — Miami Herald
“Patchett … is one of our best contemporary novelists. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage reminds us that she is an exceptional writer of nonfiction, too. Her prose is a pleasure to read, regardless of genre.” — Dallas Morning News
“Novelist Ann Patchett’s excellent essay collection ranges from dogs to writing to white-knuckled air travel.” — Christian Science Monitor
“While being an artistic crafter of words, Patchett also has a storyteller’s ability to sketch a moment so vividly you can’t fail to see how her own writing life was developed.” — Aspen Daily News
“In this heartfelt collection of autobiographical essays, the novelist opens up about love, friendship, and family, exhibiting the compassionate voice that is a hallmark of her fiction.” — O, the Oprah Magazine
“It is a feat that Ann Patchett remains so lovable as a narrator, and so engaging as a storyteller, when writing about her excellent career, personal life, dog, and husband.” — Newsday
“Patchett’s is a no-nonsense voice: clear, sane, companionable… [T]he funny, frank and nervy ‘The Getaway Car’ (possibly worth the book’s price) plunges readers, roller-coaster style, into the story of Patchett’s writing life—essentially, this collection’s real subject.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“[I]n this terrific, wide-ranging collection, Patchett demonstrates how a pro does it.” — NPR's Fresh Air
“All of the essays, which have been collected from her magazine work over two decades, are excellent. Patchett writes enviable prose—fluid, simple, direct, clear, and fearless…” — Esquire.com
“Ann Patchett most definitely has something to say, in her fully realized and beautiful voice.” — Huffington Post
“[A]ll of the periodical pieces collected are finely polished, worthy of their packaging between two hard covers.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Writing of loss and of the complications of love, Patchett lets down her guard … and opens both her sense of humor and her heart.” — Columbus Dispatch
“Wit-filled and elegantly executed” — Entertainment Weekly
“The best advertisement for Ann Patchett’s new collection of nonfiction is anything else Ms. Patchett has written...Ms. Patchett’s style is not overly confessional, but it is beguiling in ways that make her sound like someone you’d want to know.” — New York Times
Coverage from NPR