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Taft by Ann Patchett
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Taft (edition 2007)

by Ann Patchett

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5281819,108 (3.28)23
Member:DetailMuse
Title:Taft
Authors:Ann Patchett
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, TBR, a2008

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Taft by Ann Patchett

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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
John Nickel, manager of a bar in Memphis, hires a young white waitress. Although he has some reservations about Fay's age and ability, she seems to be working out well enough. She also seems to be developing a bit of an attraction to the older black man, which he doesn't quite know how to handle. Is this a longing for a father figure, her own father having died fairly recently, or is it something else? And then her brother Carl, almost her twin, shows up and becomes part of the increasingly unsettling picture. Nickel has some domestic issues of his own, and starts to create these kids' previous life in his imagination, focusing on their father, the "Taft" of the title. We know what Taft did for a living, how he died, and that his children loved him and miss him. Beyond that, however, his character as presented to the reader is entirely Nickel's invention. As the story flows on, Nickel seems to be drawing on this mental image to guide him in his relationship with his own young son, and in his response to Fay and Carl. Unfortunately, he falls into a common parental trap, attempting to protect a child from the consequences of its own actions. It is nearly a fatal mistake. Up until the final plot development I was ready to give this novel a very high 4 or 41/2 star rating. The writing is fine, the characters felt authentic, Nickel was just flawed enough to be interesting, but not so much that you wanted to shout at his obvious errors in judgment. But in my view Patchett sort of jumped the shark with her climactic events, and I had a tough time believing a crucial piece of the action. It was a "that couldn't happen" rather than a "nobody would DO that" situation, and even while caught up in the story I couldn't quite suspend my disbelief. So. 3 1/2 it is. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Nov 19, 2016 |
John, a former drummer turned bar manager is suffering from some sort of mid life crisis. He says he wants to "do right" but frustratingly goes wrong at every turn. Making the reader wonder how he got this far in life when his current ability to make decisions is so shockingly poor. His long term girlfriend has taken their son and left Memphis for a better life in Miami (a questionable decision on her part). Just as it looks like she is coming back he sleeps with her sister. Meanwhile he has hired a hillbilly, Fay from eastern TN to work as a waitress in his bar. She is underage and continually tries to lure him into a relationship - bad on two counts - this could shut the bar down and potentially land him in jail. To complicate matters Fay's junkie brother, Carl has taken to dealing drugs out of the bar. John barely notices until other employees demand he intercede. While reading this I kept thinking, "Well, this can only end badly." I wasn't wrong. ( )
  knitwit2 | Apr 18, 2016 |
Like many readers, I first met the books of Ann Patchett with Bel Canto. That immediately made me want to read everything she writes. Taft is the last of Patchett's books for me to read. And I am sad because I suspect it will be a few years before she has another new novel.

( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
This is Ann Patchett's second novel, written before [Bel Canto] made her one of my favorite authors. In it, she takes us to Memphis, where ex-jazz musician John Nickel manages a bar. When Fay Taft walks in to apply for a job as a waitress, we join Nickel in knowing almost nothing about her that can be observed from her exterior. But gradually we learn about the tragedies that she and her brother Carl have faced. Nickel, whose life is also in upheaval, comes to care deeply for Fay, and over the course of a few weeks, they make an enduring mark on each other's lives. While nothing compares to [Bel Canto], this is a well-told and compelling story. ( )
  porch_reader | May 7, 2015 |
The author has cleverly written in the voice of a African- American male convincingly. I read this in a day and found it a very satisfying read. ( )
  HelenBaker | Dec 12, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Patchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chalmers, AnneDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coe, DianaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guider, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
''Home seemed a heaven and that we were cast out...''
Dedication
For Ann and Jerry Wilson
of Carthage, Tennessee
First words
A girl walked into the bar.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061339229, Paperback)

John Nickel is a black ex-jazz musician who only wants to be a good father. But when his son is taken away from him, he's left with nothing but the Memphis bar he manages. Then he hires Fay, a young white waitress, who has a volatile brother named Carl in tow. Nickel finds himself consumed with the idea of Taft—Fay and Carl's dead father—and begins to reconstruct the life of a man he never met. But his sympathies for these lost souls soon take him down a twisting path into the lives of strangers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"John Nickel is a black ex-jazz musician who only wants to be a good father. But when his son is taken away from him, he's left with nothing but the Memphis bar he manages. Then he hires Fay, a young white waitress, who has a volatile brother named Carl in tow. Nickel finds himself consumed with the idea of Taft--Fay and Carl's dead father--and begins to reconstruct the life of a man he never met. But his sympathies for these lost souls soon take him down a twisting path into the lives of strangers"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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