Family and Politics: Ann Patchett’s New Book at Last!

2 10 2007

“RUN” was to be released October 16 but now I think today is the day!

Ann Patchett’s life-changing “Bel Canto” is one of my favorite books ever. I’ve bought and given away several copies to friends, since it came out six years ago. Bel Canto too, was about the politics of strangers thrown together as family, and how we don’t all speak the same language or understand the same truths — except music, which transcends their differences, touches everyone and brings them together although not even the most talented of them can really understand how or control how it happens.

Not happy exactly, but right and true imo, which makes it profoundly satisfying.

And right now during Banned Books Week 2007, let’s applaud Ann Patchett as a strong southern woman, for passionately “defending her work from censorious detractors” like the southern lawyer-politico who claimed her books led to the sexual and secular corruption of college students. Read all about it in her interview with Atlantic Monthly, “My Pornography.”

Ken Wingate, a South Carolina lawyer and local also-ran for the state senate and governorship — The sewer he claimed to have waded into involved Patchett’s book, “Truth & Beauty: A Friendship” which had been assigned to the incoming Clemson University freshman class of 2006 as mandatory summer reading.

Way to miss the point there, Skippy. Not the point of the book but of the real story, which in this case was nonfiction. The point of family, politics, friendship, sex, LIFE!

The Santa Fe Opera is to be commended for offering something different and sophisticated . . . the opera company forces us to consider different operas, to broaden our musical horizons and witness sophisticated and complicated performances. The opera will feature in 2006 a new commission of Ann Patchett’s novel “Bel Canto.”
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One of the most anticipated events in the opera world is the premiere of Bel Canto, based on Ann Patchett’s best selling novel of the same name. This opera was commissioned by the SFO and was scheduled for the summer of 2006 with French soprano Natalie Dessay. Unfortunately, Bel Canto was recently postponed because the composer claimed that he did not have sufficient time to complete the score.

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In Patchett’s own words, “Run” is 24 hours in Boston, Joe Kennedy meets the Brothers Karamazov . . . exploring the “what ifs” of true power from generation to generation running along MATRIARCHAL, rather than patriarchal, lines. (They always said Eunice should’ve been president, not any of the boys.)

She says to her this book is — as all her books are — less about biological family and more about the larger family of community, country, responsibilities, how “family values” transcend blood and what greatness really means. It’s a “call” to accepting one’s responsibility to the world, which “obsesses” her at this moment in history, and in her own private life.

The new book is particularly tied to “the cusp between the very rich and very poor” and also to Harvard (ichtheology?? — can’t wait to see what that has to do with anything. ) Read the rest of this entry »

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