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Publisher's Summary

Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children, all of his children, safe.

Set over a period of 24 hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from one another, and how family can include people you've never even met. As in her best-selling novel Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.

Don't miss our free Ann Patchett interview. Patchett is an Audible CelebrityListener - find out what she's listening to here.
©2007 Ann Patchett (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

" Run is a book that sets out inventively to contend with the temper of our times, and by the end we feel we really know the Doyle family in all its intensity and with all its surprises." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 07-24-09


Four stars is probably more generous for this selection than I should be. This book has good points and bad points. Although the main characters are interesting, to me they were extremes. One son is too scholarly, another son is too sentimental, the third son is too messed up. The father is, well I am not sure what he is. I think he could have been more. The little girl gives us most of the story, but her character at the end is not consistent (or less than complementary) of my perception of her in the main story.

There were many pieces that I did not get. The statue of the madonna was one. With the beginning building it up so, I figured it would carry more significance throughout the main story. If it did, I missed it. The birth mother should have been a bigger piece. But again, I must have missed it if it was there. There were such minute details about events and feelings, but these were not all pulled together.

The narration was good. I did not find it awful as another reviewer said. Voices were differentiated well.

All in all, it wasn't "painful" to listen to, but I was not thrilled. If others say her previous books were better, I would choose to get them and not bother with this one.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not my favorite by this author

I had higher expectations for the author of Bel Canto and Truth and Beauty. I hesitated to buy her latest novel, but after listening to the Audible interview, I was intrigued. It was an ok story, but not my favorite. It was a bit slow, and I never really got attached to any of the characters. Patchett's gift for description was less apparent in this novel. It was a decent read, but not of the quality I expected from Ann Patchett.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I was greatly looking forward to listening to this book because I admired Bel Canto, the author's previous novel, so much and because Run had gotten excellent reviews. Unfortunately, the book did not meet my expectations. It managed to be both melodramatic and boring at the same time. Despite the dramatic revelations that occur at various turns throughout the book, I found my attention wandering constantly. Part of the problem was the shallowness of the characters--Teddy is the warm, open one, Tip is the cerebral, emotionally stunted one, Sullivan is the prodigal son and so on. Finally, I could not understand the author's decision to set this book during a 24 hour period. It would have been much more interesting to see how these characters reacted to life-altering events of the day over the course of time instead of having them underreact and wait for a lot of cabs (as boring to read about as to do) over a period 24 hours

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Don't listen to the interview at the end.

"Bel Canto," Patchett's earlier book, is one of my all time favorite love stories and I was, I think, hoping to find another treasure in "Run." Using the same story line - strangers cast together through circumstances over which they have no control who must deal with a life changing series of events - "Run" lacked the passion and tenderness of "Bel Canto," and seemed instead a story with an agenda. Then, when I listened to the interview at the end, I found out that it was indeed, the author says,a story about politics. Maybe next time she could just write an essay.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • J
  • Summit, NJ
  • 12-03-07

Fine writing

While this book coesn't soar to the heights of "Bel Canto", its content is certainly more accessible. I enjoyed following the journeys of the diverse, and mostly believable characters in the book. In fact, I wish there was more revealed about several of them. The author interview after the book was surprising; I didn't perceive the same political focus in the book that the author seemed to think it had, but it was value added, nonetheless.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


When I first starting listening, I realized my mistake of not first audibly previewing before buying. The narration was horrible! Worst of any book I have purchased from Audible. Flat, toneless, just awful. So bad I felt compelled to write this, as no one else commented on him in their reviews.

I stayed with it though ( as I had already wasted my money on the book just previous to this) for the story. Kept at it, kept at it, trying to care about the characters who were more symbols than developed people. Trying to buy into the rather far fetched co-incidences in the story. When one of the central characters starts talking to a ghost, I just gave up. Felt bad for another waste of money, but figured time is more valuable than 1 credit.

I clearly do not get the appeal of Ann Patchett

Give this one a big thumbs down

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Captivating characters

This is a moving and poignant story that captures a reader and engages you with the characters. Well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michelle L
  • Marin County, California USA
  • 12-11-16

Another great story from Ann Patchett

Where does Run rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Run is in the top third of my favorite stories, had good and bad issues with the audiobook but overall a very good audiobook.

The audiobook's storytelling was very well done, especially the political/historical orations recited throughout this book. The music in the audiobook, to me, was unnecessary and sometimes jarring... but still thought it was great.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kenya was my favorite character - she brought an unexpected hope & brightness to this story.

Have you listened to any of Peter Francis James’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. Very deep voice!

If you could take any character from Run out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The uncle - would love to hear what he was feeling, experiencing, seeing, when he was having his visions and causing miracles.

Any additional comments?

At the end of the story, a conversation between Ann Patchett and the publisher is on the audiobook, which gave great insight and depth to the story (and at times, to all her books). She explains how all of her stories are the same - they all begin with a group of strangers thrown together and then a story evolves out of the chance meeting, just as in the 3 Patchett books I've read. She explains the multiple meanings behind the title, and shares how she doesn't generally include children in her stories - Kenya being an exception.

Will continue to look forward to more tales from this great storyteller.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Story that is intriguing and humanizing

Read this one for a book club I am in. It's not typically part of my reading fodder. Having said that, I did enjoy the book. It was a bit convoluted, true. But it still retained a story line I was willing to go along with. The coincidental nature of some happenings was a bit beyond my scope of suspending disbelief but not enough that I quit reading or hated the read like some.

I liked the characters. I could appreciate both their self centeredness as well as their desire to support the family unit. The author did a great job of keeping the story to a flow that was both forward steps and look backs that explained the relevant information. I did not have a personal paradigm for much of the story but that didn't bother me.

In my opinion, the weakest point of the book involved the statue but I get the allegory that was at play. I just didn't feel like it forwarded the story as much as the author probably thought it did. I felt it was a bit of the author attempting to display how clever they were

Having said that, I'd say this book will probably do best with those who like angsty story lines where there are clashes of class and privilege.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Family and Politics with Heart and Values

My husband and I love to listen to Ann Patchett together. Not many books get both of us hooked, but A.P. catches us both with her character development, good sense of story and style of expression. Her use of language is simply beautiful. Run's narration threw me in the first few minutes but very quickly I realized the narrator allows the written word to carry itself until his flair is called for - and then he is brilliant again. I love it that Patchett is both a realist and someone who refuses to allow despair a permanent place. Her sense of family is whole and imperfect and hopeful. Her conveyance of politics is that it must be values based to be helpful. Somehow she conveys all this with everyday words in graceful arrangements.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful