It’s halloween! I’ve never been a big fan of trick-or-treating (the cold! the mean-spirited people who give out power bars and apples!) but I do love this time of year, all the lovely candy, and the spooky ghost stories. My family is big on all things BBC, so we’re watching of the BBC “Midsomer Murders” series, which is basically the most awesome murder mystery show on the face of the earth.
So anyway, on other news: recently finished Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, which is the story of her 17-year friendship with writer Lucy Grealy. I really loved Ann Patchett’s books Run and Bel Canto (I count Bel Canto as one of my favorite books ever, and that’s saying something) for their imaginative story lines but also for her elegant and unobtrusive writing style. This style works particularly well in Truth and Beauty, putting Grealy’s colorful and unique personality front and center. I don’t especially feel like going through the entire plot, but suffice it to say that it’s a great book, lovingly and honestly told, that casts light on the multifaceted nature of the closest friendships, in which love and exasperation play equal parts. Many such books look at their subjects through rose-tinted lenses, but Patchett shows Grealy in all of her many permutatons, from antic to needy to deeply depressed. The account gains much from its honest rendering of a complex friendship.
Another reason why I liked the book so much is that it gives a look inside the writer’s process. I think Ann Patchett is absolutely amazing, so it was interesting and enlightening to hear that writers don’t just wake up with a deep sense of purpose and clang out 10 pages in an hour. Sometimes it’s hard to think of wonderful writers as normal people who have to edit and refine and disparage just like everyone else. Bel Canto is so amazing, just writing this makes me want to read it again!
Happy halloween, and more later!