Ann Patchett: A Novelist Writes Her Own Life

Ann Patchett has become one of America’s great novelists through her inexhaustible ability to create compelling characters.  Her books include “Bel Canto,” where a famous opera singer is held hostage in Peru. Or more recently, “State of Wonder,” about a woman who journeys to Brazil, to bring back information about a seemingly miraculous drug.

After years of being recognized for her novels, Patchett leaves the fiction genre behind in her newest book, which is a collection of non-fiction essays called, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.”

Readers of Patchett’s work will get an entirely new perspective into her life, and her work. She writes about her early years as a writer, a failed marriage, a bookstore she founded in Nashville and her love for opera.

I recently spoke with Patchett about this book, and about a storyline that appears again and again in her work—which is also found in classics like “Lord of the Rings” and “Magic Mountain.”

“At the end of every book, I read it through and think, Well look, I did it again — a group of people thrown together by circumstances, in some sort of confinement; people get trapped together and they figure out who they are and who they are in relationship to other people.”

Listen to the interview here:

I’ll have a longer conversation with Patchett later this week. Join us at 7 p.m. Friday at the Clifton Center. Tickets are $5 and available at Carmichael’s Booksellers. More information at (502) 896-6950.

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