Speaking of Lukas’s Common Ground — August 22, 2010

Speaking of Lukas’s Common Ground

(…as we were), it helped me realize another thing that’s really annoying about Ann Patchett’s novel [book: Run]: it’s ripped directly from [book: Common Ground], only it loses all of the latter’s majesty and honesty toward its characters, and replaces them with cheap sentimentality. One of the families that Lukas follows in [book: Common Ground], for instance, ends up suffering a crime so horrifying that thinking about it has denied me sleep on a few occasions; Lukas depicts the crime matter-of-factly, because his whole project is to turn an honest eye on race and on cities. A ghastly crime simply wouldn’t fit within Patchett’s world; it’s not treacly enough for her, and [book: Run] is trying so hard to Say Something that it avoids being honest when it should.

I’d invite you to read [book: Common Ground] and then [book: Run], and tell me that Patchett didn’t ape the former in writing the latter. It would be one thing if she’d aped it with any respect or skill; as it is, she colorized it and replaced the soundtrack with carnival music.