Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Thanks to Parnassus

October 30, 2013 Ann Patchett’s 2011 novel, State of Wonder, tells the story of a Minnesota scientist who travels to the Amazon to get to the bottom of a colleague’s mysterious death and in the process finally comes to terms with a mentor she’s tried for years to forget. Patchett’s new essay collection, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, has the author coming to terms with her own insecurities, literally climbing walls, encountering a small group of hostile natives in South Carolina, and traveling throughout the American West in an RV. The book is not a thinly veiled autobiography, however: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is an essay collection with a structure that Patchett says is more akin to her six novels—including her most famous, Bel Canto—than to her two earlier books of nonfiction. A transcript of the podcast, lightly edited for ease of reading online, is available here.