False Start

Ann Patchett
HarperCollins, $25.95, 304 pp.

Ann Patchett’s new novel opens with a wryly romantic vision of motherhood. Bernadette Doyle, recently deceased mother of one biological and two adopted sons, has left behind a beguiling Irish statue of the Virgin Mary, bearing an uncanny resemblance to red-haired Bernadette herself. When her sisters come to claim the statue, long handed down to daughters in the family, Bernadette’s widower refuses to hand it over, pointing out that his two boys, Tip and Teddy, pray to...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Or log in with...


About the Author

Valerie Sayers, chair of the English Department at Notre Dame, is the author of six novels, including The Powers.