Review of Ann Patchett’s These Precious Days: A collection to treasure and give to your best friend
The author’s collection of essays explores everything from friendship to mortality, pondering how to live and love in the short time we have.
Ann Patchett is one of those authors whose books are pressed into hands with such zeal that it borders on desperation.
“You must read this,” people say about Commonwealth, Run, and her most recent bestseller, The Dutch House, published in 2019.
Despite her devoted following, Patchett, who is unquestionably one of the best candidates for the title of “writer of the great American novel,” remains outside the enchanted circle of Bellow, Updike, Franzen, and Roth.
Could it be because she’s a woman? And, worse, a woman who is fun, upbeat, and nice? In one essay, Patchett recalls being confronted by a black-and-white photo wall of the Academy’s members, including Henry James, Georgia O’Keeffe, and John Steinbeck.
There’s also Patchett.
“I’m showing all my teeth and looking completely out of place in front of every serious and circumspect photograph.”
She runs an independent bookstore in Nashville, hangs out with nuns, and is friends with Tom Hanks when she’s not writing.
This collection of essays exists because of Tom Hanks.
They met after she declared herself a fan of the actor’s short-story collection, which led to a relationship so touching and unexpected that the resulting article in Harper’s magazine became the must-read for January 2021.
The rest of the book was written to accommodate this essay, and These Precious Daysis a kind of meditation on how to live and love in the short time we have.
By way of her husband’s plane, an old nightstand, and Snoopy, it covers everything from friendship to her writing process to mortality.
Patchett’s father plays a significant role in both her life and this book.
She keeps returning to him, their closeness, the tenderness of their love.
She tells a friend how she plans to keep her grief for after he has died when death comes for him slowly and agonizingly.
“Or not,” says her friend, and in the end, it was the other way around; she grieved alongside him as they faced his impending death together.
And then there is death.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy
Ann Patchett’s These Precious Days is a collection to treasure and give to your best friend.
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These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, review: A collection to cherish and give to your best friend