Monday, February 25, 2008

RUN by Ann Patchett (2007) HarperCollins

After an evening of hearing Jesse Jackson speak at Harvard, former Boston Mayor Doyle and his two adopted sons Tip and Teddy find themselves stuck in a snowstorm unable to find a cab. Tip is a dreamer and is distracted with thoughts of cataloguing fish back in his lab when he is hit by an SUV, but not before he is pushed out of the way from being run over by a stranger, also making her way home with her 11 year old daughter.

The 24 hours that follow are harrowing for the family as new bonds are formed with the young black girl, Kenya, and her mother Tennessee, who is hospitalized and awaiting surgery for her internal life-threatening injuries. Kenya has known about Tip and Teddy and has followed their public lives in a way that is marginally creepy.

Patchett weaves the voices together with grace and beauty and explores the differences in opportunity available to those who are rich/poor, black/white in contemporary Boston. In the Harvard residence there's a sign promoting Obama 2012, a curious and forward thinking pop-cultural marker.

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