SHE LIKED THE IDEA OF BE­ING IN A CLOIS­TERED OR­DER

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

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

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