12 Tom Lake by Ann Patchett Quotes

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Find the 12 thoughtful quotes from Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake 

Tom Lake  is a New York Times bestseller that explores the intricacies of human emotions and relationships. 

Against the picturesque backdrop of Northern Michigan in the spring of 2020, Tom Lake  unveils the captivating narrative of Lara Nelson. 

Lara narrates her story to her daughters about Peter Duke, a famous actor she once knew at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara reminisces about the past, her daughters reflect on their own lives and their relationship with her, leading them to question their understanding of the world and their mother.

Tom Lake  is also about the profound complexities of youthful love, the enduring bonds of married love, and the hidden lives parents lead before their children come into existence. 

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett  Summary

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.

Best Tom Lake Quotes 

There is no explaining this simple truth about life: you will forget much of it.

The painful things you were certain you’d never be able to let go? Now you’re not entirely sure when they happened, while the thrilling parts, the heart-stopping joys, splintered and scattered and became something else. 

We clump together in our sorrow. In joy we may wander off in our separate directions, but in sorrow we prefer to hold hands.

It’s about falling so wildly in love with him—the way one will at twenty-four—that it felt like jumping off a roof at midnight. There was no way to foresee the mess it would come to in the end, nor did it occur to me to care.

The stories that are familiar will always be our favorites.

What was it like?” she asks me again. It was like being a leaf in a river. I fell in and was carried along.

We remember the people we hurt so much more clearly than the people who hurt us.

I want to tell her she will never be hurt, that everything will be fair, and that I will always, always be there to protect her.

Like every other mother in the history of time, I wondered if I would ever be able to love another child as much as I loved her.

It is sentimental and useless to tell someone you would gladly give them your past because the past is nontransferable, and anyway, I would have wanted to give her only the good days.

Good marriages are never as interesting as bad affairs.

People with children are attuned to the inherent sexual possibility of an empty house.

I hope you enjoyed the best quotes from Ann Patchett’s 2023 novel Tom Lake.

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Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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