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.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1, 2023
My plan for this book was to do a hybrid read, alternating between the audio and my print copy. However, with Meryl Streep being the narrator, most of my reading was done listening to her, she does a stellar job.
There aren’t that many books set during the lockdown (that I have read that is) but Tom Lake is such a story. It is the spring of 2020 and Lara's three daughters return home to northern Michigan, amidst the cherry orchard and picking season. It is during this time that Lara slowly recounts her years as an stage actress and her relationship with an up and coming famous actor.
Tom Lake is a slow moving story that I think was easier to listen to then to read. It had that quiet feel as Lara told her story. I enjoyed reading about the relationships between this family and how they are committed to each other and the family farm. It is a story of young love, searching and surviving 2020 together. The flash backs at times were a bit jarring but it didn’t take long know where and when I am reading.
This is my third Ann Patchett, I have come expect a more quiet and slow paced read with unique subjects.
This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge