Thursday 20 March 2008

Another Great Listen

Finished March 19
Run by Ann Patchett, performed by Peter Francis James
This novel kept me interested throughout. The majority of the book takes place within a twenty-four hour period. Bernard Doyle is a former mayor of Boston, and he has arranged to meet his two younger sons (adopted and black) at a political speech given by Jesse Jackson. He has high hopes for the oldest of these two sons to make something of himself in the political arena. Tip however is passionate about fish. He is studying science at Harvard and resents having to humour his father on these outings, as does the younger brother Teddy. Teddy is very closed to his uncle Sullivan, a retired priest who is very ill, and would rather spend his time with him.
After the speech the three men stand outside in a strong snowstorm arguing about where to go. Tip wants to go back to the lab and as he walks away he ends up in the path of a car. A nearby woman throws herself at him to get him out of the way, and ends up getting hit herself. As the woman, Tennesse, her 11-year-old daughter Kenya, and the Doyle family make their way to the hospital, the ways in which the characters lives intersect becomes more clear. Over the next few hours, as the Doyle family, including the oldest brother Sullivan, take charge of Kenya while her mother is incapacitated, the characters learn how the worlds of privilege and poverty, have and have not, can intersect in unexpected ways. The characters reactions to both the situations that arise and each other are fascinating, and this story has elements of politics, ethical decisions, and human frailties.
I found the interview included at the end of the book was a plus as the author described the process of writing and how she saw the book.

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