Xysea 's Reviews > Run

Run by Ann Patchett
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's review
Nov 23, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: book-on-home-shelf
Recommended for: Ann Patchett fans, but only by way of contrast to Bel Canto
Read in January, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Okay, let me say that I love Ann Patchett. Bel Canto was a moving novel, and one that lingered with me long after I'd read it. It was one of my favorite books in 2007.

And this, Senator, is NO Bel Canto. (Yes, bad pun intended!)

It's well-written, but it didn't move me. Where Bel Canto was surprising and unique, this was predictable. The plot line was nothing new, or original, so I gravitated toward looking at the characters to provide the 'meat and bones' of the book.

Unfortunately, they did not.

She didn't really develop them sufficiently, in my view. The one character I truly did like, the mother, was introduced with a lovely story at the beginning of the book, a story about a statue the mother inherited - and then Patchett promptly kills her off. The one character that showed any depth or history, was sacrificed to move the plot forward. That, in and of itself, is no crime: It's done all the time. But, hopefully, in exchange you get equally well-built characters. In this case, I didn't find any - and that's a real shame.

(I would say the second best written character was probably Kenya, and this becomes evident only at the end of the book.)

This book was billed as a suspense novel, and I must say it's really hard for it to be 'suspenseful' when the plot is so re-hashed. I already knew the outcome of the book, probably within the first 70 pages or so. To me, it wasn't at all suspenseful; it was just a bland take on family relations, family secrets - nothing more. Even the 'big reveal' isn't all that revealing.

Still, Patchett's prose flows so smoothly sometimes, and she has a clarity of image and thought that I still find stunning. It was a quick, easy read; I finished it in about a day or so, with moderate-paced reading.

In the end I thought the book was, except for her prose, rather average and unexceptional. To me, Bel Canto still remains her masterwork.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Ruth I was disappointed in this, too. And I'm not a rabid AP fan. It's Constant Reader's discussion book this month. On the 15th, we'll start a discussion under the main book listing.

Xysea Yes, and I've read some of the other peoples' intial impressions. I don't mind weighing in with my reservations, I just don't want to ruffle too many feathers...being new, and all, I want to show respect for the group.

Ruth Just be nice and nobody will mind. We have a long history of polite disagreement.

Sherry The initial note had many reservations. Bev only gave it two stars, so you're in good company, Sea.

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