December 2, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Truth and Beauty

By |2018-03-21T18:29:03+01:00January 1st, 2006|Recent Reviews|

By Ann Patchett

Harper Perennial, 2005. 272 pages.


touching and smoothly written autobiography of the intimate friendship and literary kinship between the author and Lucy Grealy. Ann, a fiction writer, and Lucy, a poet, met when they were undergraduates at Sarah Lawrence College. Acquaintances there, they followed each other to the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where their friendship blossomed. Thereafter their lives would intersect variously, but remained bound together — by living for language and everything that encumbers — and the strength of a perhaps uneven friendship where Ann was the sensible one, and Lucy, the brilliant and unstable one.

Ann watches Lucy edge into self-destruction even as Lucy’s literary accomplishments surpass her own. In the end, this is also the story of the disillusionment of betrayal, the terse and perhaps inevitable limits of friendship: how friendship could not, in this case, save a life.

Kristine Crane is Associate Editor of The American and the author of the "L'Americana" column. She lives and writes in North Central Florida. She was formerly a Fulbright scholar and journalist in Rome, where she helped found "The American." She is originally from Iowa City.