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Truth & beauty : a friendship
Ann Patchett
Adult Nonfiction RD661.G74 P386 2004

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This memoir of Patchett's friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy shares many insights into the nature of devotion. One of the best instances of this concerns a fable of ants and grasshoppers. When winter came, the hard-working ant took the fun-loving grasshopper in, each understanding their roles were immutable. It was a symbiotic relationship. Like the grasshopper, Grealy, who died of cancer at age 39 in 2002, was an untethered creature, who liked nothing more than to dance, drink and fling herself into Patchett's arms like a kitten. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars; Bel Canto) tells this story chronologically, in bursts of dialogue, memory and snippets of Grealy's letters, moving from the unfolding of their deep connection in graduate school and into the more turbulent waters beyond. Patchett describes her attempts to be a writer, while Grealy endured a continuous round of operations as a result of her cancer. Later, when adulthood brought success, but also heartbreak and drug addiction, the duo continued to be intertwined, even though their link sometimes seemed to fray. This gorgeously written chronicle unfolds as an example of how friendships can contain more passion and affection than any in the romantic realm. And although Patchett unflinchingly describes the difficulties she and Grealy faced in the years after grad school, she never loses the feeling she had the first time Grealy sprang into her arms: "[She] came through the door and it was there, huge and permanent and first." Agent, Lisa Bankoff. (May 14) Forecast: Patchett and Grealy are graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, and alumni and other literary types will be interested in this book. National advertising and a reading group guide could make it popular among a more general women's audience. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Mourning her best friend, Lucy Grealy, Patchett relies on memory and selections from Grealy's letters to write of their shared lives in this moving tribute and eulogy. Ironically, Grealy (Autobiography of a Face) succumbed to a heroin overdose at age 39 after surviving Ewings Sarcoma as a child and multiple facial surgeries throughout her life. Alumnae of Sarah Lawrence College, the women met at the University of Iowa while working on their MFA degrees and became lifelong friends. Patchett's loneliness and love for her friend is heard in her voice; tonal variations aid the listener in identifying the speaker at any given moment. This program will be of interest to fans of both women. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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