Monday 14 December 2015

Patchett, Ann "The Patron Saint of Liars"

Patchett, Ann "The Patron Saint of Liars" - 1992

With my former book club, I read "The Magician's Assistant". But that was years ago and I didn't really like it very much.

So, when this book was suggested to my present book club, I was a little careful, to say the least. I was certainly not prepared to pay 30 Euros for it. But, luckily, I found an arrangement with one of the other members and therefore didn't have to buy it and could indeed read it.

I was glad I did. The story is interesting, the writing captivating, the characters are somehow mysterious but also loveable. The heroine's life is full of secrets, there are so many lies and everyone seems to know there must be lies but can live with it. An interesting life, both for the mother as well as the daughter.

There is not a lot I can see about the novel itself without revealing everything but that the family lives near a home for unmarried mothers, the daughter grows up in this environment. Having grown up in a Catholic village myself, I could relate to a lot of the problems the people in the novel had.

A good read. Looking forward to more Ann Patchett novels.

From the back cover:

"'I was somewhere outside of Ludlow, California, heading due east toward Kentucky, when I realized that I would be a liar for the rest of my life.'

With these words we meet Rose Clinton, a woman in flight from her marriage and her past in flight from everything, it turns out, except the child in her womb, the girl we will know as Cecilia. Rose will ever be an alluring and mysterious woman; it is Cecilia, though, who becomes the ultimate heroine of this novel, and we watch her life with mounting wonder and apprehension.

The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett has given us an utterly fresh novel, enchanted and enchanting. Much of its action takes place in the unlikely location of St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers, in Habit, Kentucky. St. Elizabeth's is a place of indigenous sorrow but surprising humor, a place of love and lies. It is here that Rose finds refuge and decides to keep her baby girl. Here she takes a job as a cook and makes a marriage to the stolid, generous, and infinitely melancholy groundskeeper, names Son. Thus Cecilia grows up - thinking her life, as children will, 'normal' - finding nothing strange about a mother without a history and an extended family consisting of nuns and an ever-changing collection of pregnant teenage girls.

In the end, Rose's past must be reborn. We know this, and yet we resist knowing it, fearing for its effect on Cecilia. This remarkable novel, which begins by beguiling and entertaining us, gathers deepening folds of emotion until it becomes a story about nothing less than the war in our hearts between knowledge and faith.
The Patron Saint of Liars introduces a young writer of extraordinary accomplishment and wisdom."

The funny thing, the person who suggested the book to be discussed in May 2015, never returned to the book club and then there were the holidays, so we never actually discussed it.


  1. This is one of my top favorite Ann Patchett books.

    1. I have only read two of her books but I really liked this one.