What We Are Reading This Month

An impetuous kiss leads to the dissolution of two marriages and to a blended family, in that the siblings are mixed together periodically and then separated to be mixed again at the next summer vacation or holiday. The newest novel from Ann Patchett examines familial relationships and how they change over time in a way that is neither too weird to identify with nor too stereotypical to seem real. When a writer dating one of the sisters appropriates their tragedy as grist for a bestselling novel, the question of who owns the memories arises. Do they change when opened up to the world? Do you forgive or do you cling to your version while facing that of others? These heavy subjects are handled with a light touch that is not dismissive, but rather allows the details to unfold in vignettes covering fifty years. This is a lovely book, written beautifully. -Sydne, Atlanta