SHE LIKED THE IDEA OF BEING IN A CLOISTERED ORDER
included here, a kind of pornography of solitude. While Patchett admits the years she was able to enjoy such lucrative commissions ‘‘ were the salad days of freelance writing’’, her recommendation of a freelance career to all budding authors seems out of touch with the present state of the industry, where writers struggle to earn decent rates.
The weirdly declarative title This is the Story of a Happy Marriage initially promises to be either bitterly ironic or smug. It’s not spoiling anything to reveal it is not ironic and whatever smugness exists is tempered by a good dose of humility. Patchett’s marriage to her husband, Karl, is indeed happy, and the story of their engagement is lovely and