Front Cover
Fourth Estate, 1999 - Bars (Drinking establishments) - 246 pages
13 Reviews
Ann Patchett's second novel to be published in the UK, following the Orange Prize-shortlisted 'The Magician's Assistant'. John Nickel is a black ex-jazz musician who only wants to be a good father. When his son is taken away to Miami by his mother, Nickel is left with nothing but Muddy's, the Memphis blues bar that he manages. Then he hires Fay Taft, a young white waitress from east Tennessee who has a volatile brother, Carl, in tow. They spell nothing but trouble for Nickel. Fay stirs up both romantic and paternal impulses in him and Carl is clearly a no-good. But 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 whose place he has taken.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - technodiabla - LibraryThing

Dueling stories of two fathers (one white, one black) trying to do right by their children. They make mistakes, drama ensues as their lives intertwine. Short read that I recommend highly. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - laytonwoman3rd - LibraryThing

John Nickel, manager of a bar in Memphis, hires a young white waitress. Although he has some reservations about Fay's age and ability, she seems to be working out well enough. She also seems to be ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (1999)

Originally from Los Angeles, Ann Patchett has also written The Magician's Assistant and The Patron Saint of Liars. She lives in Nashville and is the Tennessee Williams Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of the South.

Bibliographic information