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“The journey from the head to the hand is perilous and lined with bodies. It is the road on which nearly everyone who wants to write—and many of the people who do write—get lost.”

So writes Ann Patchett in “The Getaway Car,” a wry, wisdom-packed memoir of her life as a writer. Here, for the first time, one of America’s most celebrated authors (“State of Wonder,” “Bel Canto,” “Truth and Beauty”), talks at length about her literary career—the highs and the lows—and shares advice on the craft and art of writing. In this fascinating look at the development of a novelist, we meet Patchett’s mentors (Allan Gurganas, Grace Paley, Russell Banks), see where she made wrong turns (poetry), and learn how she gets the pages written (an unromantic process of pure hard work). Woven through engaging anecdotes from Patchett’s life are lessons about writing that offer an inside peek into the storytelling process and provide a blueprint for anyone wanting to give writing a serious try. The bestselling author gives pointers on everything from finding ideas to constructing a plot to combating writer’s block. More than that, she conveys the joys and rewards of a life spent reading and writing.

“What I like about the job of being a novelist, and at the same time what I find so exhausting about it, is that it’s the closest thing to being God that you’re ever going to get,” she writes. “All of the decisions are yours. You decide when the sun comes up. You decide who gets to fall in love...”

In this Byliner Original, “The Getaway Car” is a delightful autobiography-cum-user’s guide that appeals to both aspiring writers and anyone who loves a great story.


Ann Patchett is the author of eight books, including “Bel Canto,” which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, England’s Orange Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Her most recent novel, “State of Wonder,” is a “New York Times” bestseller. She is working on a collection of essays.

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