Book Discussion: Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake

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On Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., the Bryant Library will host a “Hot Off The Press” book discussion of Ann Patchett’s latest novel, Tom Lake.
As with her other books, Tom Lake has become an instant bestseller, in addition to being a critical success.


The publisher, Harper Collins, describes the book thusly: “In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
“Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born,” it continued. “Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety.”
Reviewers, such as Benjamin Markovits, have compared the novel to the Thornton Wilder classic, Our Town. Writing in London’s The Daily Telegraph, Markovits gave the novel a “four” in a five-star rating category. Writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Grace Linden added, “Our Town, a play about loss and the inability to appreciate life as it happens, is the perfect foil for Patchett’s story.”
Tom Lake is the latest novel from this prize-winning author. Patchett received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett’s other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), Taft (1994), The Magician’s Assistant (1997), Run (2007), State of Wonder (2011), Commonwealth (2016), and The Dutch House (2019).
A friend of writer Lucy Grealy, Patchett has written a memoir about their relationship, Truth and Beauty: A Friendship.
Patchett is the editor of the 2006 volume of the anthology series The Best American Short Stories.
In 2019, Patchett published her first children’s book, Lambslide.
In November 2021, she published These Precious Days, an essay collection she describes as the sequel to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.
The library is at 2 Paper Mill Rd. Call 516-621-2240.
—Submitted by the Bryant Library

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