top stories

Ann Patchett on Summer Love and Her New Novel

Ann Patchett’s new novel, “Tom Lake,” is set in northern Michigan during the early days of pandemic lockdown, and centers on a mother telling her grown daughters about the summer fling she had in her youth with an actor who went on to become a big star. Reviewing it in The Times (mostly favorably), Alexandra Jacobs noted that “Tom Lake” is a “resolutely folksy, cozy” novel, and on this week’s podcast Patchett tells the host Gilbert Cruz that that’s exactly how she wanted it — even though she knows some readers are skeptical of happy books.

“If a person writes a book about a serial killer, no one ever comes back around and says, This isn’t realistic,” Patchett says. “But if you write a book about a family that loves each other, you get busted for it. It’s — do you want me to put some zombies in my novel? The fact is, I know so many kind people. I have been on the receiving end of endless kindness and love in my life. And it’s very representative of part of the world. I am not speaking for everything.”

Patchett also discusses life as a bookseller (she owns the store Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn.) and talks about Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” as a touchstone for her novel, among other topics.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to

Source link