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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terse Yet Resonant and Always Finds the Right Words
THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE brings together several previously- published, and some new, non-fiction essays from beloved New York Times best-selling American writer Ann Patchett. Patchett, author of multi-prize winning Bel Canto and State of Wonder, here blends literature and memoir. In these essays, read in The Atlantic, Harper's, Vogue and the Washington Post,...
Published 5 months ago by Stephanie De Pue

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2.0 out of 5 stars An unengaging voice
I was hoping for essays that would engage me as reader. Unfortunately all that across was smugness. I love the essay genre but this is a poor example of essay writing.
Published 1 month ago by Aline P'nina Tayar


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terse Yet Resonant and Always Finds the Right Words, 3 Nov 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Carolina Beach, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Hardcover)
THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE brings together several previously- published, and some new, non-fiction essays from beloved New York Times best-selling American writer Ann Patchett. Patchett, author of multi-prize winning Bel Canto and State of Wonder, here blends literature and memoir. In these essays, read in The Atlantic, Harper's, Vogue and the Washington Post, Patchett examines her life, looking at some of her nearest and dearest commitments: to family, friends, her husband Karl, her dog, and writing. As ever, Patchett's work is admirably terse, yet resonant, as the book stretches from her California childhood through her upbringing in Nashville, Tennessee, her unhappy first marriage, the flora and fauna of Tennessee, the hard, lonely grift of writing, and the fun of opening Parnassus, her own Nashville bookstore, simply because the town needed one.

The author's writing, six novels and two books of nonfiction, boasts sparkling " mots just," as the French would say: finds just the perfect words for the occasion. Let me just give you a quote from the book at hand here, which, as it happens, is the opening paragraph of her introduction:

The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living. My short stories and novels have always filled my life with meaning, but, at least in the first decade of my career, they were no more capable of supporting me than my dog was. But part of what I love about both novels and dogs is that they are so beautifully oblivious to economic concerns. We serve them, and in return they thrive. It isn't their responsibility to figure out where the rent is coming from.

The writer's novels are deeply imagined and researched: the two I've read, both set in South America, have been extraordinary. The fourth, BEL CANTO tells the story of an opera singer held hostage, along with several others, in an embassy in an unnamed country that sounds a lot like Peru during its Shining Path insurrection. Its writer here states that writing/researching it gave her her lifelong love for opera, a sublime entertainment of which she was previously ignorant. She expresses her gratitude for the present-day live HD opera broadcasts which many of us, not fortunate enough to live in major cities, have come to enjoy. STATE OF WONDER gives us an unknown Indian tribe along a tributary of the mighty Amazon River. The tribe has found herbal remedies in its surroundings, some of them unique and useful enough for whispers of their existence to have reached major American pharmaceutical companies.

BEL CANTO won both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in 2002, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named the Book Sense Book of the Year. It's sold more than a million copies in the United States and been translated into more than 30 languages. Luckily for me, my mystery book club read this book and thereby introduced me to Patchett, with whom, as a confirmed mystery reader, I was not then familiar. Loved BEL CANTO, absolutely loved it, but did not review it here, didn't feel competent to do so. But through the kind agency of Amazon Vine, I was able to read and review STATE OF WONDER here: like critics and viewers worldwide, I loved it. Loved, absolutely loved THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE as well. Thank you, book club, am so thankful to have made Patchett's acquaintance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!, 28 Jan 2014
This review is from: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Hardcover)
A book of inspiration personal essays - I read this book slowly as I didn't want to finish it. Ann Patchett's prose is simple, but cleverly written. She has a skilful turn of phrase without over-writing or being too 'flowery'. After finishing the book I felt as though I knew her. I would definitely recommend this book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An unengaging voice, 24 Feb 2014
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I was hoping for essays that would engage me as reader. Unfortunately all that across was smugness. I love the essay genre but this is a poor example of essay writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed Ann Patchett's style as soon, as I finished the book I was looking for another of her books to read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Perceptine writing, 12 Jan 2014
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A most interesting series of journalism and essays about life , learning to to be a writer and very much better than the novels
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5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and riveting memoir, 10 Jan 2014
By 
Niki Collins-queen, Author "author" (Forsyth, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Hardcover)
Ann Patchett seamlessly weaves the past and present in her trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows about childhood, marriage, divorce, friends, loss, death and the hard work and rewards of writing in "This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage."
Ann is a first-rate storyteller. I loved her heart-warming story about her tiny, white, fluffy dog, Rose who "looked as if she had Jack Russell and Chihuahua in her family lineage." I cried when Ann described Rose's heart-breaking death at age16.
However, my favorite story is Ann's deeply personal account about how she came to marry again and have a "happy marriage."
Her essay about writing fiction and non-fiction are insightful and helpful. I share her concern about a passive education where we are told what to think and feel versus and an active education where we learn how to question and engage.
Her twenty-two stories, articles and essays were featured in many publications over the years. She said her freelance articles led to some fun and remarkable assignments. She got to go on and write about a mock honeymoon in Hawaii, drive an RV across the American West and tour Italy's great opera houses all on someone else's dime.
"This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage" is a rare and riveting memoir. I did not want her book to end.
Anne is the author of six novels, two books of nonfiction and many awards. She is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.
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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (Hardcover - 7 Nov 2013)
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