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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.
©2004 Ann Patchett (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews



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

By Suzn F on 02-20-12

It got better....

I rarely give up on a book and I almost did with Truth and Beauty. I am a fan of other Patchett books, Bel Canto, Magician's Assistant, State of Wonder...but this one, was too much, just too much of this back and forth between these two mostly unhappy people. I find it hard to believe that Patchett would want to write about every conversation, every sad call yet perhaps if I had read Lucy Grealy's book I may feel otherwise. The book did begin to hold my interest as it progressed, but for me overall, I guess it was just too depressing.
I must say however that Lucy Grealy was an amazing woman it seems at least from her friend's account. And to have such a friendship, what a gift for Ann and Lucy.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful


By Lisa on 02-24-05

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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13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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