The backstory: After loving State of Wonder (my review), I set out to read all of Ann Patchett's books.
The basics: Run is the story of the Doyle family: Bernard, an Irish Catholic ex-mayor of Boston, his deceased wife Bernadette, their adult son Sullivan, and their two adopted college ages sons, Tip and Teddy, who are biological brothers.
My thoughts: I'm beginning to think Ann Patchett is my soul sister. Her writing reaches me deeply, and I've adored everything she's written. It was a special treat to read Run, the novel of hers I knew the least about going in. Although I had the framework of two of her novels and one memoir, I didn't know what to expect. Run isn't as universally loved as some of her other works, so I was particularly curious to see how it measured up.
Admittedly, Run started off slowly for me. It took two chapters to really get into the heart of the story, but once it happened, I was hooked. One of the things I love most about Patchett's writing are her characters. They are real people with real flaws. Extraordinary situations cause them to act in sometimes surprising ways, which make me ponder how actions vary in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. Ann Patchett writes about these extraordinary days of life, and Run, mostly takes place in a single day. There are days that change our lives, and the day in Run was certainly one of those days for every single character.
While this review shares very little of the actual story, I truly believe it's best experienced without detail. Know this: Run is extraordinary.
Favorite passage: "In suggesting that there may be nothing ahead of them, he in no way meant to diminish the future; instead, Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of the divine. It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself. God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that all the bats had been put back behind the closet door. God could have been the masses in which he told people how best to prepare for the glorious life everlasting, the one they couldn’t see as opposed to the one they were living at that exact moment in the pews of the church hall, washed over in the stained glass light. How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater. What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow? Life itself had been holy."
The verdict: I adored Run. It ambitiously tackles themes of politics, religion and family in large and small ways. The characters are as strong as the writing, and I was sad when I finished this novel and had to leave them behind. Ultimately, I liked it even more than I liked Bel Canto (my review).
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 304 pages
Publication date: September 25, 2007
Source: purchased for my Kindle
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Run from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)
As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!