x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

A memoir in form of essays

Essays by Ann Patchett on her disastrous first marriage, her loving pet and her successful fight against Amazon show us her mettle and give the reader strength to similarly carry on

Don’t be put off by the saccharine title; this very readable collection of essays by the much-loved US author is actually the story of a whole life – from a disastrous first marriage (The Sacrament of Divorce) through a list of more long-lasting loves (Tennessee, her dog, a nun who taught her to read, and a second stab at conjugal bliss).

Then there’s the success story of her own independent book store in Nashville and her determination to take on Amazon (she won).

All of these stories have previously appeared in print in publications such as Vogue and The New York Times, when non-fiction helped Patchett to finance her fiction as well as provide a welcome distraction from writer’s block.

Taken together, they form an interesting memoir.

Patchett’s commitment to her craft is undeniable, as she writes in The Bookstore Strikes Back: “If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book.

“This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”

cdight@thenational.ae