#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK
In this beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.
“Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature.” —The Guardian
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The prolific author Ann Patchett paints a tender portrait of a caring woman, her close-knit family, and the dazzling stories of her past in this reflective, heart-rending, and captivating novel. Before Lara lived in a Northern Michigan orchard with her loving husband and three daughters, she was an actress destined for stardom. She even dated a famous movie star, the dashing Peter Duke—a piece of Lara’s past that her daughters (the delightfully distinct Emily, Maisie, and Nell, now in their 20s) obsess over. From her first audition in her small New Hampshire hometown to her time spent in New York, Los Angeles, and a summer-stock theater in Michigan called Tom Lake, Lara recounts her life to her children during a hot summer in the midst of the pandemic. But as Lara’s past reveals dark truths about the present, the overlapping realities of “then” versus “now” create an incredibly poignant and completely unputdownable tale. If you’re looking for a breathtaking—and heartbreaking—take on love, family, and fate, look no further than Tom Lake.
Patchett (The Dutch House) unspools a masterly family drama set in the early months of Covid-19. Lara and her husband live on a cherry orchard in northern Michigan, where they welcome their three adult daughters home to shelter in place. Emily, the oldest, is a young farmer who will inherit the family farm; Maisie is a veterinarian; and Nell, the youngest at 22, dreams of becoming an actress. They pass the hours picking fruit and listening to Lara tell the tale of her long-ago romance with "Duke," a young actor who went on to become a major celebrity. Lara and Duke met during a summer stock production of Our Town, where she played Emily and he played her father, Editor Webb. Patchett alternates between present-day scenes of the cherry orchard and Lara's younger years, including her brief foray as an actor in Hollywood, before an accident put a sudden end to her career. "There's a lot you don't know," Lara tells Emily, Maisie, and Nell at the novel's opening, and as Patchett's slow-burn narrative gathers dramatic steam, she blends past and present with dexterity and aplomb, as the daughters come to learn more of the truth about Lara's Duke stories, causing them to reshape their understanding of their mother. Patchett is at the top of her game.
But well written enough. Surprised that I finished it.
Couldn’t even complete
This book is very boring and most of my book club members couldn’t even finish. I DONT get the hype. I would give it a zero out of 5 if I could.
Call me crazy but I think this was an easy write for Ann and she went with the $$$. This book assumes you know all about the play that the book is about and it’s catch-up time the whole time if you don’t. I enjoyed the characters but couldn’t wait to just finish it and move on .I have enjoyed Patchett books before but this one is a dud.