Ann Patchett books in order
Ann Patchett is an American author of literary fiction and non-fiction books.
She has written books such as The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), The Magician's Assistant (1997), The Dutch House (2019), as well as the non-fiction books What Now? (2008), This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (2013), and many more.
Educated at both Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, her books have been both New York Times bestsellers and New York Times Notable Books.
Patchett has been accorded several awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book Sense Book of the Year, The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and many others.
Her books have been translated into over 30 languages.
The co-founder of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee alongside her business partner Karen Hayes, Patchett has become a passionate spokesperson for independent booksellers.
She currently resides in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
Genres: Literary Fiction, Non-fiction, Women's Fiction
- The Patron Saint of Liars (1992)
- Taft (1994)
- The Magician's Assistant (1997)
- Bel Canto (2001)
- Run (2007)
- State of Wonder (2011)
- Commonwealth (2016)
- The Dutch House (2019)
- Tom Lake (2023)
Best American Short Stories
- The Best American Short Stories 2006 (2006)
- Truth & Beauty: A Friendship (2004)
- What Now? (2008)
- The Bookshop Strikes Back (2012)
- This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (2013)
- Nashville: Scenes from the New American South (2018)
- These Precious Days: Essays (2021)
- The Best Contemporary Women's Fiction (2010)
- Lambslide (2019)
- Escape Goat (2020)
Detailed book overview
St. Elizabeth’s, a home for unwed mothers in Habit, Kentucky, usually harbors its residents for only a little while. Not so Rose Clinton, a beautiful, mysterious woman who comes to the home pregnant but not unwed, and stays.
She plans to give up her child, thinking she cannot be the mother it needs. But when Cecilia is born, Rose makes a place for herself and her daughter amid St. Elizabeth’s extended family of nuns and an ever-changing collection of pregnant teenage girls.
Rose’s past won’t be kept away, though, even by St. Elizabeth’s; she cannot remain untouched by what she has left behind, even as she cannot change who she has become in the leaving.
When John Nickel's lover takes away his son, Nickel is left only with his Beale Street bar in Memphis. He hires a young waitress named Fay Taft, who brings with her a desperate, dangerous brother, Carl, and the possibility of new intimacy. Nickel finds himself consumed with Fay and Carl's dead father—Taft—obsessing over and reconstructing the life of a man he never met.
A stunning artistic achievement, Taft confirms Ann Patchett's standing as one of the most gifted writers of her generation and reminds us of our deepest instincts to protect the people we love.
When Parsifal, a handsome and charming magician, dies suddenly, his widow Sabine—who was also his faithful assistant for twenty years—learns that the family he claimed to have lost in a tragic accident is very much alive and well. Sabine is left to unravel his secrets, and the journey she takes, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her.
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa.
Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.
Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving possessive and ambitions father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children--all his children--safe.
Marina Singh is a research scientist at Vogel, a pharmaceutical institute in Minnesota, inconveniently in love with her boss, Mr. Fox . When one of her colleagues is reported to have died while following up on the progress of a field team based in Brazil, Marina is dispatched by Mr. Fox to the Amazon to uncover the truth of his death. And his widow wants his effects. She travels to Manaus, then down into the Amazonian delta, deep into the dense, dark, insect-infested jungle.
The research team is looking into the development of a new miracle drug that could revolutionize Western society. A local tribe has the bark of a certain tree, it yields a substance which allows them to conceive late into middle age: many of the women are getting pregnant into their sixties and seventies.
The problem is that the team is taking too long: they have been silent for two years, and Marina has been tasked to find out what is holding back their progress. The second problem is more serious: the team is being headed up by the daunting figure of Marina Swenson, an eminent and fiercely uncompromising scientist who was once Marina’s colleague, and towards whom Marina has very complicated feelings.
What Marina learns will change her life. In a novel that is packed with amazing twists and surprises, Ann Patchett returns with immense confidence to a broad canvas, teeming with atmosphere and characters and rich with narrative. Remarkable events - fights with anacondas; encounters with cannibals; deaths; re-births - and profound moral decisions come together in a novel that will enthrall her many readers and fans, and is guaranteed to be a major bestseller.
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.
When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.
At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart.
As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
Best American Short Stories
“While a single short story may have a difficult time raising enough noise on its own to be heard over the din of civilization, short stories in bulk can have the effect of swarming bees, blocking out sound and sun and becoming the only thing you can think about,” writes Ann Patchett in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2006.
This vibrant, varied sampler of the American literary scene revels in life’s little absurdities, captures timely personal and cultural challenges, and ultimately shares subtle insight and compassion.
In “The View from Castle Rock,” the short story master Alice Munro imagines a fictional account of her Scottish ancestors’ emigration to Canada in 1818. Nathan Englander’s cast of young characters in “How We Avenged the Blums” confronts a bully dubbed “The Anti-Semite” to both comic and tragic ends.
In “Refresh, Refresh,” Benjamin Percy gives a forceful, heart-wrenching look at a young man’s choices when his father -- along with most of the men in his small town -- is deployed to Iraq.
Yiyun Li’s “After a Life” reveals secrets, hidden shame, and cultural change in modern China. And in “Tatooizm,” Kevin Moffett weaves a story full of humor and humanity about a young couple’s relationship that has run its course.
NB: Co-authored with Katrina Kenison.
Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work.
In Gealy's critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, she wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, years of chemotherapy and radiation, and endless reconstructive surgeries.
In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined...and what happens when one is left behind.
This is a tender, brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty and being uplifted by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.
Based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another.
With wit and candor, Patchett tells her own story of attending college, graduating, and struggling with the inevitable question, What now?
From student to line cook to teacher to waitress and eventually to award-winning author, Patchett's own life has taken many twists and turns that make her exploration genuine and resonant. As Patchett writes, "'What now?' represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life." She highlights the possibilities the unknown offers and reminds us that there is as much joy in the journey as there is in reaching the destination.
One morning, Ann Patchett woke up to find her city no longer had a bookshop. Surely, she thought, someone would open another.
So she waited, daydreaming all the while about the bookshops of her childhood: ones that valued books over muffins; where staff passionately introduced readers to new writing; where buying a book was a social experience. And then she decided to take matters into her own hands and open her own bookshop.
A prize-winning novelist turned champion of independent booksellers, Ann Patchett celebrates the joy of local bookshops.
Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.
As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.
A dynamic, experiential, and intimate portrait that explores the many sides of the legendary Southern city and country music capital, from award-winning writers Ann Patchett, Jon Meacham, and acclaimed photographer Heidi Ross.
Nashville is a creative collaboration that awakens the senses, providing a virtual immersion in this unique American city hailed as the Athens of the South. Patchett, Ross, and Meacham in his introduction, at once capture both the city’s iconic historical side—its deep, rich Southern roots, from its food and festivals to its famous venues, recording studios, and style—and its edgier, highly vibrant creative side, which has made it a modern cultural mecca increasingly populated by established and upcoming artists in art, film, and music.
“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.
At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both.
A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.
Six novels in one volume by today’s most outstanding female writers—includes The Magician’s Assistant, Those Who Save Us, and more:
Almost by Elizabeth Benedict chronicles the attempt of writer Sophy Chase to come to terms with the death of her almost ex-husband—who may have committed suicide on the New England resort island where she left him just months before.
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum follows Trudy, a professor of German history, as she investigates her mother’s past in WWII Germany, combining a passionate, doomed love story; a vivid evocation of life during the war; and a poignant mother/daughter drama.
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss is a heartwarming story of a young woman with the rare talent of “gentling” wild horses, and the unexpected and profound connections between people and animals.
The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones takes readers inside the hidden world of elite cuisine in modern China, through the story of an American food writer in Beijing who discovers that her late husband may have been leading a double life.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell is a gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth.
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett tells the story of the death of a secretive magician—and how it sets in motion his partner’s journey of self-discovery.
Nicolette Farmer is running for class president, and the rest of the Farmer family tells her she’ll win by a landslide. A pack of overconfident lambs mistakenly hear lambslide and can’t believe there’s a slide made just for them. But when they can’t find one on the farm, there’s only one thing left to do: take a vote!
They campaign. They bargain. They ask all the other animals if they, too, would like a lambslide.
Will the lambs ever get their special slide?
The Farmer family has a big problem! Every day their goat escapes, and every day, Mr. Farmer brings him back. So when things start to go awry on the farm, it must be the goat’s fault.
Who’s to blame when Mrs. Farmer’s petunias are trampled?
Or when all the cupcakes for Archie’s party disappear?
And when the whole bucket of paint is spilled?
Of course, everyone blames the goat! But is it really his fault?
Find out in this epic collaboration between Ann Patchett and Robin Preiss Glasser, who create this perfect picture book about telling the truth.