In this episode of The Archive Project, we feature best-selling, award-winning novelist Ann Patchett, who discusses her latest novel, Tom Lake, with Portland’s own Cheryl Strayed.
Ann Patchett is one of our most beloved contemporary authors. She is the author of two children’s books, four books of nonfiction, and nine novels. The New York Times Book Review has said “expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.” She is masterful at portraying specific moments that shed light on universal truths, and her newest book, Tom Lake, is exemplary. Our narrator is Lara, who is at her husband’s family cherry orchard with their three grown daughters, home because of the pandemic. Lara recounts her time performing at a summer theater company – and keeps to herself some of the details of her steamy summer romance with a future Hollywood heartthrob. In true Patchett fashion, the book is about intimacy, but also about secrets and the nature of the truth; about choices and roads not taken; about how during a global crisis it is okay to be happy that your kids are home. She says of the book that she set out to recreate the sense that, “in a world and a planet that is going to hell, there is still so much beauty and so much joy.”
It is always a joy to hear from Ann Patchett, and the warm, writerly connection between her and Cheryl Strayed makes this conversation particularly memorable.
Find your copies of Ann Patchett & Cheryl Strayed’s books
through the LITERARY ARTS PAGE ON BOOKSHOP.ORG.
Ann Patchett is the author of novels, most recently the #1 New York Times bestselling Tom Lake, works of nonfiction, and children’s books. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner, the Women’s Prize in the U.K., and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her novel The Dutch House was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. President Biden awarded her the National Humanities Medal in recognition of her contributions to American culture. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the owner of Parnassus Books.
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and became an Oscar-nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon;Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, a national best seller now the basis of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, co-hosted with Steve Almond; and Torch, her debut novel. Her books have been translated into forty languages, and her essays and other writings have appeared in numerous publications.