- Further Readings About the Author
- Media Adaptations
- Personal Information
- Writings by the Author
Born December 2, 1963, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Frank (a police captain) and Jeanne Ray (a nurse) Patchett; second marriage to Karl VanDevender (an internist). Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., 1984; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1987. Politics: "Roosevelt Democrat." Addresses: Home: Nashville, TN. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, International Creative Management, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.
Writer, novelist, bookseller, and entrepreneur. Ecco Press, editorial assistant, 1984; Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, writer-in-residence, 1989-90; Murray State University, Murray, KY, visiting assistant professor, 1992; University of the South, Nashville, TN, Tennessee Williams Fellow in Creative Writing, 1997. Parnassus Books (an independent bookstore), Nashville, TN, cofounder (with Karen Hayes), 2010. Guest on television programs.
Award for fiction, Trans-Atlantic Henfield Foundation, 1984; Editor's Choice Award for Fiction, Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, 1986, for "For Rita, Who Is Never Alice;" Editor's Choice Award for Fiction, Columbia, 1987, for "The Magician's Assistant's Dream;" residential fellow of Yaddo and Millay Colony for the Arts, both 1989; James A. Michener/Copernicus Award, University of Iowa, 1989, for work on Patron Saint of Liars; residential fellow, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, RI, 1990-91; Mary Ingrahm Bunting fellowship, 1993; Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best work of fiction, 1994, for Taft; Tennessee Writers Award of the Year, Nashville Banner, and Guggenheim fellowship, both 1994, both for The Magician's Assistant; National Book Critics Circle Award nomination in fiction category, 2001, and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and Orange Prize for fiction, both 2002, all for Bel Canto; Alex Award, Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust and Booklist, 2005, for Truth and Beauty: A Friendship; named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, Time magazine, 2012; Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, 2014, for body of work; Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters; Book Sense Book of the Year Award; Heartland Prize, Chicago Tribune; Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts; Most Engaging Author Award, American Bookseller's Association; Women's National Book Association Award; World Book Night, honorary chair; elected to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2017.
- Truth and Beauty: A Friendship (memoir), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
- (Editor, with series editor Katrina Kenison) The Best American Short Stories 2006, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.
- What Now?, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 2008.
- The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life, Byliner (San Francisco, CA), 2011.
- The Bookshop Strikes Back, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2013.
- This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 2013.
- The Patron Saint of Liars, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1992.
- Taft, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1994.
- The Magician's Assistant, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1997.
- Bel Canto, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
- Run, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.
- State of Wonder, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2011.
- Commonwealth, Harper (New York, NY), 2016.
Work represented in anthologies, including Twenty under Thirty, edited by Debra Spark, Scribner (New York, NY), 1987; Twenty for the Nineties, edited by Monica Wood, J. Weston Walch (Portland, ME), 1992; The Anthology of the Fine Arts Work Center, Sheepshead Press, 1993; and Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, edited by Ann Hood, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2013. Contributor of stories to periodicals, including Columbia, Seventeen, Southern Review, Paris Review, New Madrid, Epoch, and Iowa Review. Contributor of nonfiction to GQ, Outside, Granta, and Vogue. Editor, Sarah Lawrence Review, 1983-84; fiction editor, Shankpainter, 1990-91.
Also author of the blog Notes from Ann.
Author's works have been translated into more than thirty languages.
The story "All Little Colored Children Should Learn to Play Harmonica" was adapted as a play; The Patron Saint of Liars was filmed for television by CBS, 1997.
Author Ann Patchett has been hailed as one of the most interesting and unconventional writers of her generation. Patchett's power as a writer seems to derive from her unusual ability to make believable the voices of a sweeping array of characters. In 1984, on her twenty-first birthday, Patchett published her first story, "All Little Colored Children Should Learn to Play Harmonica," a narrative set in the 1940s about a black family with eight children. Patchett, a white woman from Nashville, Tennessee, had actually written the story two years earlier when she was a sophomore at New York's Sarah Lawrence College. "Because I was nineteen, I had the courage and confidence to approach such subject matter with authority," she told Elizabeth Bernstein in an interview for Publishers Weekly. Patchett described the origins of her diverse characters as occurring in moments of fantasy. "I never thought it was strange to pick these topics," she recounted to Bernstein. "I just really believe that using your imagination is the one time in your life you can really go anywhere."
The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett's first novel, shows such imagination. It tells the story of a young pregnant woman who flees from a dull marriage, driving across the country to find a new, different, and unexpected sense of family at St. Elizabeth's, a Roman Catholic home for unwed mothers in Kentucky.
Critics pointed out that the novel may strain belief at times, in particular because it provides no contextual sense of hotly debated social issues surrounding marriage and reproduction in the Catholic Church. However, as Alice McDermott, reviewing the novel in the New York Times Book Review, pointed out, Patchett's project is to write "a made up story of an enchanted place." Comparing The Patron Saint of Liars to a fairy tale, McDermott explained that "the world of St. Elizabeth's, and of the novel itself, ... retains some sense of the miraculous, of a genuine, if unanticipated, power to heal."
Patchett's next novel, Taft, also received critical praise, though reviewers' opinions differed as to whether or not this work exceeded Patchett's achievement in The Patron Saint of Liars. Taft's action centers on a Memphis blues bar called Muddy's. The black, middle-aged bartender, Nickel, who narrates the story, becomes imaginatively and practically entangled in the life of a white working-class teenager, Fay Taft, and that of her family. Focusing on their relationship, Patchett weaves a multilayered narrative about unconventional kinds of love and improvisational familial ties.
In her critically acclaimed third novel, The Magician's Assistant, Patchett continues to explore the themes of unorthodox love, abandonment, and transcendence and the surprising places people go to feel at home. The protagonist and title character, Sabine, has long been in love with the gay magician she assists. As the narrative opens, Parsifal, the magician, who is afflicted with AIDS, dies suddenly from a stroke. Sabine and Parsifal had entered into an unusual marriage, and upon his death, she is embraced by his family, which she had not known existed. Sabine meets her estranged in-laws, and together they try to put together the pieces of Parsifal's past. As Sabine shares her grief, she finds a hint of redemption and a way to transform herself. Veronica Chambers, reviewing The Magician's Assistant for Newsweek, called it "a '90s love story wrought with all the grace and classic charm of a 19th-century novel."
By the time her fourth novel was released, Patchett had earned a reputation for quality fiction, and that reputation was sealed with the publication of Bel Canto. Loosely based on a real-life 1996 hostage crisis in Lima, Peru, Bel Canto--an opera term that means "fine singing"--takes place in an unnamed South American country where the vice presidential palace is the setting for a birthday reception honoring a prominent businessman, the chair of a huge Japanese electronics concern. "The poor host country was throwing a birthday party of unreasonable expense, hoping that Hosokawa might help with training, trade, a factory--something that will make it look like the nation is moving away from drug trafficking," according to Seattle Times contributor Valerie Ryan. One of the star guests at this party is Roxane Cross, a revered American opera soprano who has agreed to perform for her biggest fan, Hosokawa. As the lights dim following her aria, the peace is shattered by the invasion of terrorists. The electronics tycoon, the diva, the vice president and sixty dignitaries are taken hostage. "In a marvelously loopy touch," noted David Kipen in the San Francisco Chronicle, "the president has begged off to watch his favorite telenovela." Negotiations reach a stalemate, but inside the mansion, hostages and guerillas are oblivious to the action. Instead, as the siege stretches to four-and-a-half months, hostages and terrorists form bonds of friendship and even love inside the mansion; "pretty soon, nobody wants to kill anybody," Kipen observed. However, some characters are not destined to survive.
Thematically, Bel Canto is "similar to my other works in that people are thrown together by circumstance," Patchett told David Podgurski in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview. "But I wanted to write a truly omniscient third-person narrative, a 'Russian' novel." The author continued: "I wanted all of the drama as I saw it unfold on television--it seemed so operatic--and to have all that and yet keep it within a narrative that wasn't a potboiler."
Bel Canto received positive notices from many reviewers, among them Laura Miller, writing for Salon.com. "With this scenario, you'd expect [Bel Canto] to be populated by the kind of romantic figures found in books and movies like Chocolat, cartoonish outlines that invite the reader to stop inside and fancy herself the embodiment of, say, Joyous Sensuality or the Human Spirit. Instead, the characters Patchett has created are just that, characters; they're not empty enough to 'identify' with." Guardian contributor Alex Clark applauded Patchett's range. "With bravura confidence and inventiveness she varies her pace to encompass both lightning flashes of brutality and terror and long stretches of incarcerated ennui," he wrote. "The novel's sensibilities extend from the sly wit of observational humor to subtle, mournful insights into the nature of yearning and desire."
What was it about the real-life crisis that inspired Patchett's interest in a fictional retelling? In an essay on the BookPage Web site, she recalled her absorption in the unfolding events of 1996: "Very few disasters happen in slow motion: plane crashes, school shootings, earthquakes--by the time we hear about them, they're usually over. But the story in Lima stretched on, one month, two, three." During that time, she added, "I couldn't stop thinking about these people. There is no such thing as a good kidnapping, but I heard the hostages played chess with their captors. I heard they played soccer. There were rumors of large pizza orders." To Patchett, the story had "all elements I was interested in: the construction of family, the displacement from home, a life that was at once dangerous and completely benign."
Following the death in 2002 of Lucy Grealy, Patchett's longtime friend and author of Autobiography of a Face, Patchett wrote the memoir Truth and Beauty: A Friendship. In an interview with Publishers Weekly contributor Elizabeth Millard, the author explained: "I give talks about my belief in fiction and the importance of the imagination, and I always say that one thing about my novels is that ... I'm not a character in my books and I like that." Shortly after the death of her emotionally troubled friend, however, in an attempt to deal with her grief, Patchett wrote a piece for New York magazine and found herself wanting to write more; Truth and Beauty was the result. "When I look back now," she told Millard, "I think it really was a way to sit shiva for a year, to stay on her grave and be unwilling to get up and go on with my life." The author continued, noting that "going over the good times we had together, because things ended on a very bad note, I think it really gave me all the time I needed to feel terrible and to celebrate her. I feel it would be melodramatic to say the book saved my life, but it certainly put me in a better place."
Jennifer Reese described Truth and Beauty in Entertainment Weekly as a "powerful ... portrait of a fascinating, understandably tormented woman--and of a great friendship. ... Patchett's voice--perfectly modulated, lucid, and steady ... makes it both true and beautiful." Donna Seaman, writing for Booklist, called it "dazzling in its psychological interpretations, piquant in its wit, candid in its self-portraiture, and gracefully balanced between emotion and reason."
Patchett served as guest editor of The Best American Short Stories 2006. The collection features twenty short stories from a wide range of American writers, from well-known popular writers such as Tobias Wolff, Ann Beattie, and Alice Munro to lesser-known writers such as Jack Livings, Aleksandar Hemon, and Katherine Bell.
"Where a short-story collection by a single author tends to repeat patterns, rhythms and themes, there's a much greater sense of serendipity and surprise here," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Ellen Loughran, writing in Booklist, noted that the author's "introduction provides a graceful entry into the main event."
Most of Patchett's next novel, Run, takes place over a weekend. It features protagonist Bernard Doyle, a widower whose wife, Bernadette, died of cancer sixteen years earlier, and the father of three sons, two of whom are adopted. Bernard's natural son, Sullivan, dragged Bernard into a scandal that cost him his political career, but Bernard continues to practice law in Boston. His adopted black sons are twenty-year-old Teddy, a dreamer who is leaning toward the priesthood, and Tip, one year older, who is studying at Harvard with the intention of becoming an ichthyologist. They are named for Massachusetts Democrats Ted Kennedy and Tip O'Neill.
As the novel begins it is snowing, and Bernard, who would like his sons to enter politics, has invited Tip and Teddy to a Jesse Jackson lecture. The reluctant brothers purposely arrive late, but Bernard wins out, as he lied about the start time of the event, saying that it was earlier than it actually is. Tip resents his father's efforts, and following the lecture, when Bernard asks them to attend the reception, he expresses his anger, steps off a curb, and is knocked to the ground by Tennessee Alice Moser, a black woman from the poor Roxbury neighborhood. Alice is hit by the SUV that threatened to collide with Tip, and she is rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. The Doyles accompany Tennessee's eleven-year-old daughter Kenya to the hospital, then take her home with them. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that Tennessee has been connected to the family for many years, as has Kenya for her short life.
Central to the story is a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, a family heirloom with a dark past from Ireland. Mary so closely resembles Bernadette that, placed in the boys' room, she seemed to watch over them. New York Times Book Review contributor Leah Hager Cohen noted that themes include "absent mothers who are not entirely absent; present mothers who are not what they appear to be." Cohen noted the issues introduced from the beginning of the novel, including Boston's volatile political and racial history, interracial adoption and the closeness and divides that occur within families.
Cohen commented on a number of questions she felt are not answered by Patchett, including why a healthy and intelligent black mother would give up her sons for adoption. "What does it mean when a white politician adopts black sons in a city where many black constituents live in poverty? How has their upbringing informed Tip and Teddy's sense of themselves as black men? If Patchett had exhumed her characters' motivations more thoroughly, she might have persuaded readers of the circumstances that led to such a choice. And in so doing she might have elicited deeper sympathy and interest." An Economist reviewer wrote: "The novel is well plotted and Ms. Patchett's universally sympathetic portraiture produces engaging characters. The writing is seamlessly smooth but never ostentatious, pushing story to the fore." Publishers Weekly contributor Andrew O'Hagan wrote that the book "is lovely to read and is satisfyingly bold in its attempt to say something patient and true about family." Janet Maslin, also writing in the New York Times Book Review, declared that Run "shimmers with its author's rarefied eloquence, and with the deep resonance of her insights."
In Patchett's next novel, State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Marina Singh is sent to Brazil by her boss and lover to discover what happened to her coworker, Anders Eckman. Anders had been sent to check on Annick Swenson, a woman who is conducting fertility research among the Lakashi tribe of Brazil. Anders never returned from that trip, however. What returned in his place was a letter announcing his death. Because Swenson's exact location in the Amazon is unknown, Marina encounters many obstacles in her efforts to find her.
In a review of the work for the New York Times Book Review, Fernanda Eberstadt wrote: "State of Wonder is an immensely touching novel, although as with much of Patchett's work, its emotional impact is somewhat muted by her indefatigable niceness. Her corporate executives are invariably meek as lambs. Even the unscrupulous Dr. Swenson, Patchett's great shot at a megavillainess, turns out to be a woman blinded by love." Reviewing the work on the Chicago Tribune Books Web site, contributor Laura Ciolkowski said: "State of Wonder, Patchett's sixth novel, is a riveting variation on that tightly plotted journey from darkness to light." A Kirkus Reviews contributor described the work as "thrilling, disturbing and moving in equal measures--even better than Patchett's breakthrough Bel Canto." A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked: "Patchett's fluid prose dissolves in the suspense of this out-there adventure."
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a collection of twenty-two essays, most of which appeared previously in such publications as the New York Times, Vogue, and Granta. The author examines her rural Catholic background in Tennessee and the route she took in becoming a writer. In one essay she discusses her deep love for her dog, Rose, while another describes a hilarious RV road trip. In another, she explains how she learned to appreciate opera in order to write her novel Bel Canto. "The Wall" explores her relationship with her father, a Los Angeles police officer, as she seeks his advice and guidance so that she can pass the grueling L.A. Police Academy exams. (She did not want to become a police officer but rather wanted an insider's view so that she could write a book about the process in the wake of the Rodney King beating incident in 1991.) Still another essay addresses the controversy surrounding her relationship with tortured writer Lucy Grealy, while in another Patchett describes how she cared for her dying grandmother afflicted with dementia. An address delivered at Clemson University is a passionate defense of academic and intellectual freedom. The title essay narrates the odyssey she took from her first failed marriage to her more successful marriage to Karl VanDevender, which began only after eleven years of discussion.
Critics generally greeted This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage with praise, although Laura Miller, writing for the Guardian Online, deprecated the essays in these terms: "Her short nonfiction--done mostly for the money and often subjected to the demented, too-many-cooks editing process of American glossy magazines--takes few risks and, consequently, pays fewer dividends than her wonderful novels." Describing what she saw as a typical essay, Miller wrote: "The piece will roll itself up after 2,000 breezy words with a modest and not-too-sappy takeaway about the perfection of a dog's love or how the best vacations make you appreciate home anew. It will be exactly the sort of article someone wants to read while nervously killing time in a doctor's waiting room or aeroplane seat--which is to say it will inevitably be rather pat."
Other reviewers, however, were markedly more appreciative. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "many of these selections reveal a candid, evolved self-reflection," while Michael Prodger, in a review for New Statesman, praised the author's "sensibility and understated prose style." In Booklist Donna Seaman, calling Patchett a "commanding and incisive storyteller," wrote that the essays "form an episodic, piquant, instructive, and entertaining self-portrait." A Kirkus Reviews contributor found the book "readable and candid" and concluded that "Patchett's collection is a joyful celebration of life, love and the written word. Wise, humane and always insightful." For Catherine Gilmore, writing in Library Journal, Patchett's "experiences, large and small, create a connection with the reader in prose that is thoughtful, warm, and encouraging. Each of the essays is its own delight and resonates with warmth and humor." "Patchett's style at its best," wrote Matilda Bathurst in Spectator, is "her ability to encapsulate a situation with economical intensity." Bathurst concluded that "this is a book that will annoy as many people as will find its advice invaluable," but she added that "it's the small islands of stylistic genius that carry the reader through." Finally, a reviewer for the New Yorker called the essays "sparkling," while Wendy Lesser wrote in the New York Times Book Review: "As the best personal essays often do, Patchett's is a two-way mirror, reflecting both the author and her readers."
Commonwealth, published in 2016, follows the members of several blended families over the span of several decades, examining in thorough detail what happens in the aftermath of a perhaps minor drunken indiscretion at a baby's christening. Albert Cousins, an attorney in the local district attorney's office, arrives at Franny Keating's christening uninvited. The bottle of gin he's carrying, however, earns him admittance from host Fix Keating, a police officer, and a crowd that hopes the liquor will liven up the proceedings. Liven up the party it does, as Albert is later caught kissing Beverly, Fix's wife.
In the ensuing breakups and reattachments, Albert and Beverly move to Virginia with Franny and sister Caroline. Each summer, Albert's own four kids come to Virginia to spend vacation. The misadventures of these four children and the adults around them make up the heart of the novel as Patchett explores what it means to be a family, how family can be shattered yet still cling together at some level, and whether families can withstand the worst tragedies and betrayals when their structure is already damaged.
"Commonwealth, moves, and not because of tricks or artificial-seeming intrigue. Patchett's gift is patience: She stays with these families, knowing that if we watch and wait, drama is inevitable. Patchett is a born novelist, with a natural sense of pacing and scope," observed Nick Ripatrazone, writing in National Review. After starting to read the novel, "very soon, we're thoroughly invested in these families, wrapped up in their lives by Patchett's storytelling, which has never seemed more effortlessly graceful," commented Washington Post reviewer Ron Charles.
In an interview with Ari Shapiro on the National Public Radio program All Things Considered, Patchett offered some observations about her writing in general and about Commonwealth in particular. "This book is a real mix of life and imagination, but what I've realized is that all of my books have been the same book. I write a book that is about a group of people who were pulled out of one family or situation and dropped into another one in which they are not familiar. And then I see how communities are formed," she told Shapiro. "As I realized as I've gotten older that I keep doing this again and again, I thought, wouldn't it be easy to--and interesting--to leave off all of the costuming and the location that I brought to books like Bel Canto and State of Wonder and just write about two families merging in the suburbs?," she further remarked in the interview with Shapiro.
Yvonne Zipp, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, commented: "Patchett has a deep sense of empathy for her characters. In Commonwealth these wary strangers--who start out unwillingly mushed together by a betrayal--find that shared history and kindness aren't the worst foundations on which to build a family.
FURTHER READINGS ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
- American Women Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
- Patchett, Ann, Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 26, 2001, Greg Changnon, review of Bel Canto.
- Atlantic Monthly, November, 2007, review of Run, p. 154.
- Booklist, June 12, 2001, Gilbert Taylor, review of Bel Canto, p. 1848; March 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, p. 1098; April 1, 2005, Gillian Engberg, "The Alex Awards, 2005," p. 1355; October 15, 2006, Ellen Loughran, review of The Best American Short Stories 2006, p. 27; September 15, 2013, Donna Seaman, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 16.
- Christian Science Monitor, October 9, 2007, Yvonne Zipp, review of Run, p. 13; September 13,2016, Yvonne Zipp, "Commonwealth, Ann Patchett's New Novel, Is a Family Affair," review of Commonwealth.
- Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), July 29, 2001, David Kronke, "Singing Her Praises," p. L16.
- Denver Post, June 10, 2001, Glenn Giffin, "Hostage Crisis a Study in Group Dynamics," p. L8.
- Economist, September 15, 2007, review of Run, p. 103.
- Entertainment Weekly, July 31, 1992, Annabel Davis-Goff, review of The Patron Saint of Liars, p. 57; May 21, 2004, Jennifer Reese, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 82; September 28, 2007, Jennifer Reese, review of Run, p. 111.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 30, 2004, Deborah King, review of Truth and Beauty; October 3, 2007, review of Run.
- Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), February 10, 2008, Jessica Musil, review of Run.
- Guardian (London, England), June 10, 2011, Susanna Rustin, author profile.
- Houston Chronicle, October 7, 2007, Nora Seton, review of Run, p. 22.
- Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 214; April 15, 2005, "Best Books for Reading Groups: Featuring Twenty-Five Titles Ideal for Discussion & Debate," p. S1; August 15, 2006, review of The Best American Short Stories 2006, p. 805; August 15, 2007, review of Run; February 1, 2011, review of State of Wonder; October 1, 2013, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.
- Lancet, January 1, 2005, Andy Brown, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 20.
- Library Journal, August, 1997, Kimberly G. Allen, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 134; May 15, 2004, Pam Kingsbury, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 85; July 1, 2007, Sarah Conrad Weisman, review of Run, p. 84; October 15, 2013, Catherine Gilmore, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 99.
- Marie Claire, October, 2007, review of Run, p. 73.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 20, 2001, David Podgurski, "Novel Unfolds with the Expansiveness and Drama of Opera," interview, p. 4; October 3, 2007, Whitney Gould, review of Run.
- National Review, September 26, 2016, Nick Ripatrazone, "Out of the Past," review of Commonwealth, p. 45.
- New Statesman, November 8, 2013, Michael Prodger, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 43.
- Newsweek, October 13, 1997, Veronica Chambers, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 78; October 15, 2007, Barbara Kantrowitz, review of Run, p. 83.
- New Yorker, December 9, 2013, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 89.
- New York Times, May 31, 2001, Janet Maslin, review of Bel Canto, p. E7; June 10, 2001, James Polk, review of Bel Canto, p. 37; May 13, 2004, Janet Maslin, review of Truth and Beauty, p. E7; September 8, 2016, Jennifer Senior, "They're Knotting and Unknotting the Ties That Bind," review of Commonwealth, p. C1.
- New York Times Book Review, July 26, 1992, Alice McDermott, review of The Patron Saint of Liars, p. 6; October 16, 1994, Diana Postlethwaite, review of Taft, p. 11; November 16, 1997, Suzanne Berne, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 17; October 18, 1998, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 36; September 20, 2007, Janet Maslin, review of Run; September 30, 2007, Leah Hager Cohen, review of Run, p. 7; June 17, 2011, Fernanda Eberstadt, review of State of Wonder.
- Observer (London, England), June 14, 1998, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 18.
- People, May 31, 2004, Laura Italiano, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 53; October 1, 2007, Sue Corbett, review of Run, p. 59.
- Publishers Weekly, July 18, 1994, review of Taft, p. 233; July 14, 1997, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 62; October 13, 1997, Elizabeth Bernstein, interview with Patchett, p. 52; April 16, 2001, review of Bel Canto, p. 42; March 29, 2004, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 47, and Elizabeth Millard, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 148; July 16, 2007, Andrew O'Hagan, review of Run, p. 143; April 4, 2011, review of State of Wonder; July 8, 2013, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 73.
- San Francisco Chronicle, June 13, 2001, David Kipen, "Hostage Novel Ropes You In," review of Bel Canto, p. E1.
- School Library Journal, September, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 236.
- Seattle Times, June 24, 2001, Valerie Ryan, review of Bel Canto, p. J10.
- Spectator, November 30, 2013, Mathilda Bathurst, "Boundless Blessings," review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, p. 41.
- Star Telegram (Fort Worth, TX), October 3, 2007, Catherine Mallette, review of Run.
- Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 7, 2007, "Setting Her Own Pace," interview, p. 1F.
- Times Literary Supplement, February 6, 1998, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 21; July 9, 1999, review of Taft, p. 21.
- USA Today, September 27, 2007, Jocelyn McClurg, review of Run, p. 5; April 17, 2008, Carol Memmott, "5 Questions for Ann Patchett," interview, p. 6; September 13, 2016, Jocelyn McClurg, "Patchett Is in Stellar Form in Commonwealth," review of Commonwealth, p. 05D.
- Washington Post Book World, January 18, 1998, review of The Magician's Assistant, p. 4; September 6, 2016, Ron Charles, "Commonwealth: Ann Patchett's Masterful Novel of Family and Family Secrets," review of Commonwealth.
- Women's Review of Books, October, 2004, Mary Cappello, review of Truth and Beauty, p. 4.
- WWD, September 25, 2007, Vanessa Lawrence, review of Run, p. 16.
- Ann Patchett Home Page, http://www.annpatchett.com (November 30, 2016).
- Blackbird, http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/ (June 6, 2007), "An Interview with Elizabeth McCracken and Ann Patchett."
- Blogcritics, http://blogcritics.com/ (September 25, 2007), Ted Gioia, review of Run.
- BookBrowse.com, http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (August 11, 2004), "A Conversation with Ann Patchett."
- BookPage, http://www.bookpage.com/ (August 11, 2004), Ann Patchett, "Turning a News Story into a Novel"; Laurie Parker, review of The Magician's Assistant.
- Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 11, 2004), "On the Road with Ann Patchett, Week 1."
- Guardian Online, http://www.theguardian.com/ (November 16, 2013), Laura Miller, review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.
- Guardian Unlimited, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (August 11, 2004), Alex Clark, "Danger Arias."
- New York Times Book Review, http://www.nytimes.com/ (November 22, 2013), Wendy Lesser, "What's in Store," review of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.
- NPR's Fresh Air, http://www.npr.org/ (January 23, 2014), "Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes a Day When You Gotta Go.'"
- Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (August 11, 2004), Laura Miller, "Bel Canto by Ann Patchett."
- Tribune Books Online, http://www.chicagotribune.com/ (January 22, 2012), Laura Ciolkowski, review of State of Wonder.
- National Public Radio Web site, http://www.npr.org/ (September 8, 2016), Ari Shapiro, host, All Things Considered, transcript of radio interview with Ann Patchett.*