What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.
Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.
This is a tender, brutal book about loving a person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
The beauty of this book is in the details, and in the anecdotes so colorfully recalled.
The New York Times Book Review Joyce Carol Oates Truth & Beauty is a harrowing document, composed in a spare, forthright style very different from the elegant artifice of Patchett's best-known novels...It can be no surprise that the memoir of a friendship that ends in the premature death of a gifted writer does not make for cheerful reading. And yet there is much in Truth & Beauty that is uplifting, a testament to the perennial idealism and optimism of the young.
USA Today - Jocelyn McClurg Truth & Beauty (the title comes from a chapter in Grealy's Autobiography) is heartbreaking, funny, disturbing, at times infuriating — just like the odd but endearing Lucy.
This gorgeously written chronicle unfolds as an example of how friendships can contain more passion and affection than any in the romantic realm.
Library Journal Pam Kingsbury
a contemporary story of friendship and the writing life at once intense, honest, and heartbreaking. Most highly recommended.
... a deeply moving portrait of friendship between two talented writers, illuminating the bond between herself and poet Lucy Grealy.....a tough and loving tribute, hard to put down, impossible to forget.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Dazzling in its psychological interpretations, piquant in its wit, candid in its self-portraiture, and gracefully balanced between emotion and reason, this is an utterly involving and cathartic elegy that speaks to everyone who would do anything for their soul mate.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Tom Freeman Bel Canto,Taft,The Magicians Assistant, Patron Saints of Liars I am eighty and a former English teacher and independent school administrator. Normally I enjoy fiction more than non-fiction. Ann Patchett's novels rank, in my opinion, with some of Faulkner's best writing. Harper's To Kill a Mockinggbird, is a... Read More
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'Despite its unblinking stare at an excruciatingly painful subject, this is not a dour book. Autobiography of a Face is a book about image, about the tyranny of the image of a beautiful - or even pleasingly average - face. In the end, this tyranny is not so much overthrown as shrugged off.'
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