Blogger’s note: This review was originally published in December 2007, in three installments, on my first WordPress blog, Maryland On My Mind. Time flies, posts get buried, new blogs are born, and great books live forever. The original review has been deleted from the old blog in compliance with search engine policy. — John Hayden
Ann Patchett’s ‘Run’ — Preview
Dec. 8, 2007 — When you read about Bernard Doyle, the former Boston mayor with great ambitions for his sons, you can’t help but free-associate: Kennedy. At least I can’t. Two of the sons are named Tip and Teddy!
And then I free-associate: Skeffington. Bernard Doyle and Frank Skeffington. Two Irish-Catholic mayors who loved their city, and were beloved by many. The voters turned on both of them. Doyle told a lie to protect his family and faded away without achieving his own ambitions. Skeffington stayed on too long. Again, I free-associate: William Donald Schaefer, late great mayor of Baltimore.
Ann Patchett reminds me of Edwin O’Connor. I discovered O’Connor’s 1956 novel, The Last Hurrah, in high school, and read all his other books. The two authors have insights about the same subjects — people, politics, family, God — and breath-taking writing talent, honed by attention and effort.