Modern Lit: Run, by Ann Patchett

RunFamily ties

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ann Patchett has said that, although all her books are different from one another, she uses a pattern; she collects an ensemble of strangers, then spins out a story about how they will interconnect. That certainly is the case in Run, in which the Doyles, a wealthy family of white, Irish Catholics who adopted two black boys, and the Mosers, a lower middle class family of black Catholics, become entwined so tightly that there can be no way to separate them. Racial tension is given very little space here, though economic inequality plays a major role. The Doyles and the Mosers lived their separate existences for twenty years, living only blocks apart in Boston. On one snowy night, fate will break down that separation, now and forever.

Run is beautifully written. It’s amazing how much plot and how many important issues Ms. Patchett can pack into a tale that takes place within the very brief span of 24 hours. Politics, religion, privilege, parental hopes, and the aspirations of their children all influence the outcome of that one momentous day. What prevented me from rating this novel more highly was the cast of characters, every one of them much too good to be true, and therefore, barely credible, especially toward the end.

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