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Ann Packer is an American novelist and short story writer best known for her works in The Children's Crusade, Songs Without Words, and The Dive from Clausen's Pier.

Born in Stanford, California, she developed an interest in fictional writing while in her senior year of pursuing an English major at Yale University.

Packer, whose works have been published around the world, has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Kate Chopin Literary Award for her work in The Dive from Clausen’s Pier.

She is also a recipient of a James Michener Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Ann has two children and is married to novelist and screenwriter Rafael Yglesias. She lives in the Bay Area and New York City.

More about Ann Packer

Genre: Roman

Born: 1959

Non Series
  • The Dive From Clausen's Pier (2002)
  • Songs Without Words (2007)
  • Swim Back to Me (2011)
  • The Children's Crusade (2015)
  • Mendocino and other Stories (1994)
  • Babies (2015)
  • Ploughshares Fall 1993 : The Passage of Time (1993)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

Have you ever contemplated about walking away even when convicted that staying is the right thing to do?

Twenty-three year old Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin; being with the same best friend and the same reliable, easygoing, high school sweetheart. Things however change when she starts feeling like everything around is quickly sucking the life out of her–making her to consider leaving everything behind.

But when Mike is involved in a horrific diving accident, one that unfortunately leaves him paralyzed, walking away seems inexcusable, yet all the more necessary.

Trapped in a convoluted moral dilemma, Carrie’s response will be astonishing.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0375727139
Publisher: Vintage
Songs Without Words

Liz and Sarabeth were childhood friends who drew even closer in high school, as close as sisters, after the suicide of Sarabeth's mother.

Now a singleton in her 40s, Sarabeth languishes in the regret of an adulterous affair, as she desperately tries to avoid falling into another one, whereas Liz has devoted her entire life to her family—husband Brody, and adolescent kids, Lauren and Joe.

But when Lauren attempts to commit suicide, Liz’s relationship with Sarabeth enters murky waters. Their longstanding friendship is threatened as Sarabeth, overwhelmed by her own pain, is unable to overcome it enough to comfort Liz in her time of need.

Will their friendship survive? And what will become of Liz and Brody’s marriage?

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0375727177
Publisher: Vintage
Swim Back to Me

A wife struggles to find an explanation behind the mysterious disappearance of her husband.

A mother grieves over the loss of her teenage son through the music collection he left behind.

A woman ushers her alienated parents through her brother’s wedding and reflects on the year that her family disintegrated.

A young man comes to terms with the exceeding thrill and vulnerability that accompanies becoming a father.

Two teenagers, whose families are poles apart, forge a supportive friendship only to discover the turbulent and unsettling power of sex.

In a book full of hidden cracks and unpredictable perils, Ann Packer explores the moral muddles that define our social and emotional lives, the vulnerability of ordinary grace, and the ways in which we are broken and remade by loss.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1400079735
Publisher: Vintage
The Children's Crusade

The year is 1954. Bill Blair finds the land, three wooded acres in a rustic community south of San Francisco, by chance—way before the area was ever known as Silicon Valley. Fascinated by a vision of the family he has yet to have, he impulsively buys the land and proposes to Penny Greenway; a woman who massively appeals to him.

Three decades later, three of the oldest Blair children—who still live near the family home—are disrupted by the return of their youngest sibling.

Robert, just like their father, is a doctor; Rebecca, is a psychiatrist; Ryan, a schoolteacher; and James is the rebel and mischief-maker.

In The Children's Crusade, Ann Packer accurately captures the ado of selves within a family.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1476710464
Publisher: Scribner
Mendocino and other Stories

In the title story, a young woman, on the anniversary of their father's suicide, discovers that her brother may have found a "purpose to live" through the love of a good woman.

In "Nerves", a young man realizes that his ex-wife no longer loves him, and that he misses his own life, rather than her.

In "My Mother's Yellow Dress", the narrator is a gay man looking back at his deceased mother and their tumultuous relationship.

Ann Packer offers a treat of ten short stories about women and men—wives and husbands, sisters and brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, friends and lovers—who find out that life's greatest surprises could very well be found in that which is most familiar.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1400031634
Publisher: Vintage
Babies

Virginia, who works as a copywriter at an advertising agency, one day looks around her office only to realize that everyone—well, almost everyone—is pregnant. Can she genuinely be happy for them?

Babies, which was included in the prestigious O. Henry anthology series in 1992, is a witty and perfectly blended story of pregnancy, living in the city and finding one’s place in the world.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 2015
Ebook: B00VD03ZYY
Publisher: Vintage
Ploughshares Fall 1993 : The Passage of Time

This fiction edition of Ploughshares is a compilation of fourteen stories that focus on the concept of time.

Celebrated novelist Sue Miller (The Good Mother, While I Was Gone) selects short stories that play with linear structure and go beyond the conventional way in which we perceive time in fiction.

Miller writes in the introductory part that, "To move beyond this present-tense recital of events--as these stories do--to selectively shape a presentation of events playing out over time; to point to the connections, the results, the meaning, is to deal with consequence. And, I'd argue, to make consequential fiction."

The book includes work by Michael Dorris, Robin Hemley, Laura Glen Louis, T.M. McNally, Mary McGarry Morris, Ann Packer, Elizabeth Tallent and Jonathan Wilson.

Author: Ann Packer
First Release: 1993
Ebook: B00D21JG6I
Publisher: Ploughshares / Emerson College