Stephanie Saville
Editor
1 minute read
2 Oct 2008
08:05

Fast-moving plot about a family in crisis

Stephanie Saville

STEPHANIE SAVILLE reviews Run by Ann Patchett. Bloomsbury.

Poignant memories of a dead mother, a priest plagued by issues of faith and doubt but who appears to have the power to save lives by prayer, two black brothers adopted by white parents, a young girl who breaks through social barriers and can run like the wind, along with a revered holy statue of the Virgin Mary, are some of the elements that draw the reader into the troubled world of the characters of Run.

This very readable book fascinates with its fast-moving plot which centres around a family in crisis, with three grown sons who rebel against their politician father’s hopes and dreams that at least one of them will aspire to become the president of the United States.

They are unwillingly dragged off by their father in a blizzard one night to yet another political lecture by the iconic Jesse Jackson. A series of dramatic events unfolds when the middle son, icthyologist Tip Doyle, is pushed out of the way of a looming car by a mysterious woman they have never met, saving him from serious injury or even death.

The events that transpire are intensely dramatic, and suitably satisfying for readers who are willing to abandon themselves to the highs and lows of the intertwined lives of the main protagonists.

The story deals with issues of roots and routes, and is written in sparkling prose. In what is a specially good way of drawing the reader in, Patchett lets us in on secrets highly significant to the characters’ lives, but which they themselves never learn.

I’m off to beg, borrow or buy any other book Patchett (who won the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for a previous novel, Bel Canto) has ever written.