Tuesday, March 4, 2008

RUN by Ann Patchett

by Ann Patchett
Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061340635
Hardback, 304 pages, $25.95
Genre: Literary Fiction

This story centers around a small, religious statuette which bears a strong resemblance to Bernadette Doyle. It is tradition in Bernadette’s family that the statue be handed down from mother to daughter, but Bernadette and her husband have one biological son, Sullivan, and two adopted sons, African American brothers, Tip and Teddy, but no daughters, so the ultimate fate of the statue is in question. Bernadette dies from cancer when Tip and Teddy are young and Doyle assumes the responsibility of raising them. It is Doyle’s dream that his sons share his passion for politics and follow him into a career in same. But Tip is a student at Harvard who wants to be an ichthyologist while Teddy is interested in the priesthood. Doyle, however, asks Tip and Teddy to attend a speech by Jesse Jackson with him in hopes of interesting them in politics. Afterward, Tip argues with Doyle and unintentionally steps in front of a car. A black woman saves Tip by pushing him out of the way but is injured and rushed to the hospital. Doyle offers to care for her young daughter, Kenya, while she is recovering. And this one person stepping into their lives forces each of these men to come to terms with the past, each other and themselves.

Ann Patchett’s eloquent prose is exceptional, to be absorbed and savored, as she delves deep into the psyche of her characters and delivers a slowly evolving plot. Although Run does not quite meet the high standards of Patchett’s Bel Canto, it is an intriguing, enjoyable read.

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