Saturday, May 07, 2005

Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

I just want to give a shout-out to paperbacks with flaps. I recently bought this memoir and Small Island by Andrea Levy, also a paperback with flaps, and both in form and function (built-in bookmark!), I love the flaps. I've always preferred the compactness of trade paperbacks over the bulk of hardcovers, and now that paperbacks come with flaps--perfection!

That aside, I read this memoir because in part my novel-in-progress is about female friendship, and this is the story of a good girl-bad girl (yes, Madonna-whore) friendship between two great women writers, Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy. I enjoyed Grealy's memoir Autobiography of a Face, and was disturbed by her death, ruled an accidental overdose, but possibly a suicide, and as I've mentioned before, I loved Patchett's novel Bel Canto. But to my surprise I was more interested in this as a book about writers then as a book about women friends. The good girl-bad girl dichotomy also plays out in writing communities--the hard-working, consistent writer versus the passionate, addicted/addictive artist--and it was interesting to see that despite Grealy's horrible flame-out, Patchett still sees a great romanticism in her friend's life. So while the book certainly works as a touching memorial to a friendship, and as an investigation of contemporary women, writers might like it best for its honest look at the working lives of two very successful, very different artists.

4 comments:

Tai said...

I'll shout out to those flappy things, too. They ROCK

pamela said...

I've owned this book for a few months but have yet to open it (though I have a hard back purchased on half.com so, alas, no flappy thing). I loved Autobiography of a Face and got to hear Grealy read at a Borders in LA long ago, and was similarly disturbed by her premature death. Thanks for the review -- I'm bumping Truth and Beauty up on my reading list. :)

A. Papatya Bucak said...

Hey, Pamela!

pamela said...

Hi! How's life?