Truth & Beauty

  • by Ann Patchett
  • Narrated by Ann Patchett
  • 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The author of Bel Canto, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize, and long-running New York Times best seller, turns to nonfiction in a moving chronicle of her decades-long friendship with the critically acclaimed and recently deceased author, Lucy Grealy. What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when that person is not your lover, but your best friend? In her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett shines light on the little-explored world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together. Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and after enrolling in the Iowa Writer's Workshop began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about the first half of her life. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans 20 years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest to surgical wards to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined. This is a tender, brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

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What the Critics Say



Alex Award Winner, 2005
"This gorgeously written chronicle unfolds as an example of how friendships can contain more passion and affection than any in the romantic realm." (Publishers Weekly)
"An electrifyingly intimate portrait of a remarkable human being, and a profoundly insightful chronicle of an incandescent friendship." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A grim tale of unrecovered co-dependency

I found this book a tragic example of ignorance...as tragic as if it were a discription of the failure of bloodletting to cure diabetes. While the treatment for addiction and co-dependency is not always successful it is available, and I believe that this book really misses the point of the real problems that complicated the incredible difficulties both women faced. Co-dependence and addiction are primary...not secondary problems, and this book is probably one of the most gruesome examples of tragic denial I have ever read...especially as one witnesses the corruption of genuine courage by the disease of addiction and confused co-dependence. Ignorance amplifies the tradegy, and actually serves the denial of readers who may have similar problems. The tragedy here goes on with that omission because if you don't know what you are dealing with you can't deal with it at all. I was actually sorry I bought it.
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- Charles

well done

Ann Patchett does a remarkable job of describing her friendship with Lucy Greely, painting a vivid portrait of Lucy and her own masochistic love for her. I highly recommend reading Lucy Greely's own autobiography, "Autobiography of a Face" prior to listening to this - Audible doesn't have it yet, but it might be hard to understand this description of Lucy's later life without knowing the background. Otherwise, empathizing with their friendship could be difficult since she does not really describe the events which made Lucy the tragic heroine that she is. I reserve 5 stars for the best of the best, but this is a good listen; she does an excellent job narrating her book and it is heart rending, and even compelling at times.
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- Lisa

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-10-2004
  • Publisher: HarperAudio