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10 thoughts on “Taft

  1. Arah-Lynda Arah-Lynda says:

    A Girl walked into the bar What a great opening line Right away it had me asking uestionsThis is the fourth Patchett novel I have read and one of her earliest While not as good as Bel Canto or State of Wonder it is still a very enjoyable read John Nickel lives in Memphis and is an ex jazz drummer and current bar manager The girl that walks into his bar is Fay Taft and through her we meet her brother Carl John over identifies with these two troubled teenagers who have recently and very suddenly lost their father Perhaps this is because John’s on again off again girlfriend Marion has relocated to Miami thereby separating him from his own young sonOver time John’s involvement with Fay and Carl takes him down a twisted dangerous path and he begins to obsess over the imagined life and death of their FatherThis story meets it’s conclusion in a very open ended way so if you are one of those people that want all their uestions answered and all the ends tied up this one will likely frustrate you As for me I found it to be uite a stunning achievement


  2. PorshaJo PorshaJo says:

    I have had this one on my TBR list for so long Keep checking it out from the library and sending it back unread I grabbed the audio started listeningand when the narrator announced 'a book by Anne PRATCHETT' I had that uh oh momentJohn Nickel is a black man in the South Memphis who is an ex drummer playing Jazz music and works in a bar as a night manager He has a son that he wants to be with His 'girlfriend' Marianne has his baby but he's into the bar the music partyingand taking her for granted After the birth of the boy he changes and want to marry her but she wants no part of it After some time she moves to Miami and he struggles to keep his son in his life and wants John has changed over time Then one day a very young too young to be working in a bar white girl Faye walks into the bar to get a job as a waitress John gives her a job and is drawn into her world Her brother is constantly at the bar he's a mess dealing drugs and John is drawn into his world The lost their father Taft recently and John becomes 'obsessed' with detailing Taft's life And I mean building elaborate details of his life He feels something for these two and just wants to help them John is drawn to Faye and she believes she has fallen in love with him You just know this is going to end in a tragedyIt was almost two different books here one I found interesting John's life and one I found bizarre John telling Taft's life Had the story just focused on John's life it would have been much better I had a feeling early on where this one was headed but the endingjust odd Despite the narrator not pronouncing the authors name properly it was a pretty good narration I've mentioned numerous times how I love to read Ann Patchett books and this one is no exception It's one of her earlier books Unfortunately I think I liked this one the least But I did like it And now on to my next book by this author


  3. Robert Sheard Robert Sheard says:

    I came across my first Ann Patchett novel in the early 2000s–her fourth and possibly most popular novel Bel Canto Since then I have sporadically read some of her recent novels but I had never read her earliest works This fall when Hurricane Irma was threatening south Florida and the school where I was teaching closed for the week I drove north to ride the storm out in Nashville That just happens to be where Ann Patchett’s independent bookstore Parnassus Books is I had never visited so it was a good opportunity It’s a wonderful store and almost enough of a reason to move to Nashville If I lived there I’d be there every week I picked up signed editions of her first three novels and one other I had missed over the years and so I’ve decided to read through all of her works again and fill in those gaps I screwed up the order however and started with Taft which is actually her second novel 1994 It’s the story of a former blues drummer Joe Nickel who now manages a well known Memphis blues bar on Beale Street Muddy’s Joe works too many hours because his nine year old son Franklin has moved to Miami with his mother Joe’s lonely for him and his “fatherhood” is very much the focus of the novel When Fay Taft and her brother Carl show up in his bar and enter his life he emotionally adopts them but it becomes a very intricate and confused emotional tangle Along the way Joe learns that Taft their father has recently died and Joe spends a lot of time trying to imagine what their lives were like together in the small east Tennessee town where they lived before arriving recently in Memphis While I don’t believe this is Patchett’s finest novel I’m still taken with her prose and the way she lays out emotional family dramas She blends humor pathos and enough suspense that Taft is ultimately a uick read and already demonstrates the terrific style for which she’s become known throughout her career I also happen to adore her nonfictionSo if you’ve read Bel Canto or recently Commonwealth consider her earlier novels as well I’m looking forward to reading the other three very soon


  4. Barbara H Barbara H says:

    I did enjoy reading this book but I cannot resist comparing it to Patchett's later work Bel Canto which was a shining example for her It is for this reason dificult for me to give this novel a 4 star rating but a 35 would be uite adeuateAs one can easily see from the description given about this book it involves a man named John Nickel He is an ex jazz musician running a barroom His girlfriend has left him taking their beloved son Much of the time John seems unfocused and in a dream world Yet his devotion to his son is unwavering As John tells his story throughout the book it is not difficult to see his goodness and often hidden strengths despite ill advised decisions and flights of imaginationThis is not a simple story Patchett has skillfully woven a tale of despair the realm of possibilities and the constancy of love She was uite adept in acheiving a believable likable character related in the voice of a male


  5. Carol Brill Carol Brill says:

    The writing is a 4 the story 335 for meI really like the writing in this book and connected immediately to John Nichol the narrator John is a drummer who is managing a bar to provide income for his child and ex He hires a young waitress Fay and her Carl starts hanging around Fay and Carl have a lot of baggage and are grieving the death of their father Taft John is black and Fay and Carl are white and race is a theme in the storyUltimately this is a story about father's love John worries about and misses his son who lives with his ex He starts imagining what Fay and Carl's life was like before their father diedMy uibble is that when John starts imagining the Taft family before the death the transitions are abrupt and often lost me And there are times it reads like some strange ESP or voice from beyond I had to re read the last few chapters thinking I missed something


  6. Riva Sciuto Riva Sciuto says:

    There's a reason this novel hasn't received the acclaim of Patchett's other masterpieces Bel Canto State of Wonder Patron Saint of Liars and most recent Commonwealth This book lacks the gravitas for which Ann Patchett is so well known particularly when it comes to her ability to evoke emotional reactions to characters and their often complicated lives The story just isn't compelling The plot drags And the lackluster prose doesn't even compare to her other work Read something else instead


  7. Karolyn Sherwood Karolyn Sherwood says:

    Taft is Ann Patchett's second novel out of an oeuvre of six plus a few non fiction works To date I had read all her other novels; this was my final one to read If you've followed my previous reviews you know by now that I love her work but I have to say this is my least favoritePatchett has a formula—that is not a bad thing She twists the stories so well that it's difficult to lump them into any single category Patchett likes to throw total strangers into a bowl and see how they mix In Taft she tells the tale of a single father black man in Memphis who manages a bar A girl walked into the bar is the first line I was immediately expecting a bit of humor but there was little humor to be hadThe story is told mainly in first person Ok so first person black man in Memphis told by a lovely white woman who did not grow up in Memphis That is an undertaking The voice of the primary character whose name we don't learn until halfway through the book does not come across to me as a black man In fact I didn't even know he was supposed to be black until a hundred pages in I may have missed it but none the less it was not obvious The character John didn't sound black he sometimes sounded like a 30 year old Holden CaulfieldIt's possibly unfair to judge an author's early works against her later works; becoming a better writer is always the goal However this novel did not draw me in as her other works do I might have put it down after 50 pages if I wasn't such a big fan of hers About half way through I really started to care about the characters and I think the novel had a good not great finish It is well foreshadowed which created a certain degree of suspense The title character Taft not the hero is the deceased father of the girl who walked into the bar Patchett does a back and forth thing with John and Taft that is effective but confusing It picks up the pace of the book but the two story lines did not seem of eual importance for such a literary task All in all I can't give this novel than 3 Stars I'm glad I didn't read it before I read Bel Canto and State of Wonder—I might have been turned off In any case I still love Ann Patchett's work and I am eager for her next novel


  8. Aria Aria says:

    Dnf p 83 I knew better than to even start this after not finishing 2 other books of hers but I did it anyway It started out fine for me but that probably was bc I am very familiar w not only Memphis but the music scene musicians That carried me further than this tale otherwise would have if it'd been staged differently I just couldn't buy the story line about this guy getting involved w these kids from out of town The inclusion of the MC his imagined Taft as a character just killed the whole thing though Not only did I not believe it as plausible for the character to be so fixated on the Taft guy but it pulled away from what real story there was Like I said though I knew better than to even start w another try at Patchett


  9. James James says:

    This book was compelling and an engaging read but it left me a little disappointed I think that I expected out of the ending then I got though I can't tell you what I was expecting The end seemed obvious and shallow The conflict never built to anything and it was ignored in the end I feel sometimes when I am this disappointed in an ending that I just didn't get it and that may be the case here I enjoyed reading the book but didn't enjoy ending it


  10. Kara Clevinger Kara Clevinger says:

    I am continuing to read Ann Patchett on the strength of her radio interviews and the beautiful things that she says about the writing process and the writer’s life Her first novel The Patron Saint of Liars did not blow me away—she had a good story some lovely themes and a nifty idea for perspective—but I wasn’t left feeling moved or changed which is what I expect when I finish a novel I felt the same way when I put down Patchett’s second novel Taft which is to say that I didn’t feel much I want to like her books; I really really really want to like her books because I adore her as an author but beyond having good story ideas and interesting figures for characters her novels lack the depth complexity or challenges of what I might term “good” literature Ugh I hate that Patchett’s fiction drives me to make distinctions like this I consider a novel good if it makes me think and uestion myself and the world if it forces me to see myself and the world differently if the words are strung together beautifully if it challenges me intellectually if it sits with me for days and I have to talk to someone else about it rather than carrying the weight of what I’ve experienced the new things I’ve thought and felt around with me—I don’t have to “like” it but I want to appreciate what it’s trying to do Patchett’s novels are so far falling short Taft is the story of John Nickel a black yes a white woman of privilege writing from the “I” perspective of a Southern black man—ambitious or stupid? bar manager and former jazz drummer and what happens when he takes in two white teenage lost souls Fay and her drug abusing drug dealing younger brother Carl Their father the titular Taft is dead and they have moved from the poor rural town of Coalfield to Memphis with their non present mother to live with their well off aunt and uncle When the story opens John’s ex girlfriend Marion has taken their son Franklin yes another president’s name to Miami seemingly out of maliciousness toward John The reader learns that John was not thrilled when he learned of Marion’s pregnancy—refused to marry her ran around with other women and generally saw fatherhood as interfering with his go as you please musician lifestyle When Franklin was born John softened and since then has been trying to atone for his initial reaction—asking Marion to marry him still running around with other women and giving up drumming for the “stability” of running a blues bar The reader can see that John’s sympathy for Fay and Carl his involvement in their troubles goes beyond just simple kindness; he has embraced the role of father If he cannot be father to Franklin then we will play it out with Fay and Carl Refreshingly this is a story about fatherhood It’s actually a story about black fatherhood which has been significantly documented for its lack thereof in American culture One of the few thought provoking memorable moments in the novel describes the day spent between John and Franklin when Marion comes back from Miami for a visit Muses John “Boys with their fathers who don’t belong to their fathers I can spot them anywhere They’re taking tours of the pyramid playing Putt Putt golf at ten o’clock on a Saturday morning They’re filling up the zoo carrying cotton candy and a bag of carmeled corn balloons and a thirty five dollar stuffed yak from the gift shop Custody day I used to think to myself when I passed them It wasn’t until just that moment that I had feelings for every father who had tried to endear himself in the few hours he had every father who wanted his kid to go home and tell his mother about how great the day had been The kid’s life is screwed up and I’m the one who did it That’s what us custody fathers think If I can make it look like Disneyland for a while then power to me” This passage is nicely written by Patchett and presents a sentiment and perspective so often ignored in our focus still on the relationship between mother and child I wish I could say that there were moments like this but the book just doesn’t stick with me Like the Patron Saint of Liars it feels like a writing workshop exercise Write from a perspective that is the total opposite of you; frame a story in flashback There’s ways in which the novel feels perfect like the over produced album where you see the potential of the band but want the raw stage show to really “feel” them and there’s ways in which it is just messy How do all of these things come together? The lives of poor rural Tennessee kids imagined flashbacks of the selfless father Taft an ex jazz musician a young black American teenager getting swept up in gang culture a white kid descending into drugs a single black mother interracial relationships etc etc etc? There’s a lot that Patchett covers but not one thing very deeply—she sacrifices depth for suggestion Ann Patchett’s novels are good but not great


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Taft ✹ [BOOKS] ✭ Taft By Ann Patchett ❃ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk John Nickel is a black ex jazz musician who only wants to be a good father But when his son is taken away from him he's left with nothing but the Memphis bar he manages Then he hires Fay a young white John Nickel is a black ex jazz musician who only wants to be a good father But when his son is taken away from him he's left with nothing but the Memphis bar he manages Then he hires Fay a young white waitress who has a volatile brother named Carl in tow Nickel finds himself consumed with the idea of Taft Fay and Carl's dead father and begins to reconstruct the life of a man he never met But his sympathies for these lost souls soon take him down a twisting path into the lives of strangers.

  • Paperback
  • 246 pages
  • Taft
  • Ann Patchett
  • English
  • 14 February 2014
  • 9780060540760

About the Author: Ann Patchett

Jeanne RayShe moved to Nashville Tennessee when she was six where she continues to live Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog If asked if she could go any place that place would always be home Home is the stable window that opens out into the imaginationPatchett attended high school at St Bernard Academy a private non parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy Following graduation she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with.