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Taft by Ann Patchett
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Taft (edition 2007)

by Ann Patchett

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4931620,740 (3.29)19
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 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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 |
Not my favorite Patchett, but a good read ( )
  Lisa02476 | Jul 22, 2014 |
"Home seemed a heaven and that we were cast out ..."
-- Henry Green

Ann Patchett's early novel "Taft" (1994) begins with these words from the British novelist, and as I think about the novel in the days after reading it I see that that, in brief, summarizes Patchett's story. Her characters seem to want nothing more than to go back home, back to earlier, happier times, even if those times weren't really as happy or as heavenly as they seem in memory.

The story is told by John Nickel,a black man and a former drummer, who now manages a Memphis bar. His former girlfriend has moved to Florida and taken their son with her. It was her idea that John give up music and get a steady job to better support his son. Now he misses his drums, misses his boy and even misses the ex-girlfriend who refused to marry him.

One day a white teenager named Fay Taft walks into his bar and asks for a job. Against his better judgment, he hires her, the first of many times when he finds he cannot say no to Fay. Soon her brother, Paul, begins hanging out at the bar. It's clear, to John at least, that Paul is high on drugs.

The Taft kids grew up in eastern Tennessee, but when their father died they moved to Memphis to live with relatives. They, too, have been cast out of their heaven.

Complications follow. Paul becomes a dealer, putting John's business in jeopardy. Fay decides she's in love with John and keeps finding excuses to be near him. His girlfriend and the boy return to Memphis, perhaps for a visit, perhaps to stay, but John has made the mistake of having sex with her sister. Then things really turn bad.

The title, oddly enough, refers neither to Fay nor her brother but to their father. There are flashbacks, apparently from out of John's imagination, about him and his kids back home.

This wonderful little novel leaves hints that maybe, just maybe, some of us really can go home again. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jan 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Patchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chalmers, AnneDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coe, DianaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guider, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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''Home seemed a heaven and that we were cast out...''
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For Ann and Jerry Wilson
of Carthage, Tennessee
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A girl walked into the bar.
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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)

» see all 2 descriptions

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