Tom Lake: A Novel

Written by:
Ann Patchett
Narrated by:
Meryl Streep

Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
408
Narrator
132
Release Date
August 2023
Duration
11 hours 22 minutes
Summary
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • READ BY MERYL STREEP

In this beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.

“Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature.” —The Guardian

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.
Reviews
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Anonymous

Sappy, happy and boring.

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Anonymous

I thought it was boring the whole way. The ending didn’t even help.

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Lindsay W.

The narrator is annoying and the book is boring.

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Anonymous

I had read about two Ann Patchett’s novels decades ago, can’t remember which ones other than that I enjoyed them immensely. So, no longer able to read, I chose Tom Lake to listen to, plus it was read by Meryl Streep, How could I go wrong? Meryl Streep’s narration was abominable. Story was exceedingly sappy, predictable, coming of age clap trap, worn-out themes of love & loss, a unrealistic view of an oh so close knit family of 3 grown daughters (hello? Reality-where are you?) coming home each summer to work the family cherry tree farm, movie nights with popcorn set up in the orchard with a projector aimed at a bed sheet tied between 2 cherry trees, neighbors gathered‘round to watch the movie featuring the mother’s ex love of many years ago(who is now a big Hollywood heart throb) the story centered on Lara’s (the mother) relationship during summer stock theatre of small town actors, this one set by Tom Lake, Michigan…the 3 daughters peppering her constantly for the full story of her summer love affair with the now Hollywood heart throb, lots of jumping back & forth to past & present life, trite in many places, small mention of her allegedly close relationship with her grandmother back in NH, not much info about her family of origin though, not that I even cared anymore….one word sums it all up for me: BORING.

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Anonymous

Loved the characters. Loved the story until Duke requested “Emily” to visit.

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Anonymous

The first half of the book was painfully slow, but I’m not one to stop. It felt like there was so much unnecessary words to fill the pages for the first 6 hours of listening. Especially after all the rave reviews I wanted this one to be better. Meryl Streep was an incredible narrator, her voices gave depth to the characters.

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Claire M.

Loved this book and the relationship between Lara and her daughters. Her journey through life and finding joy in the important things. Well paced, beautifully written and amazing narration.

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Anonymous

Meryl Streep is a natural - nice read !

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Elizabeth L.

Loved this, wonderful story, such great detail about both summer stock theater and fruit farming. Only one small criticism - Meryl Streep made two of Lara’s daughters sound like 80 year old life-long smokers, kind of distracting. But excellent listen!

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DeeAnn

One of the best books I have listened to in a long time! Meryl Streep was the icing on the cake!! Loved every moment!! Didn’t want it to end!! The writing was so personal and so nicely carved out each character!! Loved every moment!!!

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Christina R.

I just felt it was rather boring. The writing was well enough. The narrator was good.

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Anonymous

So painfully boring - couldn’t finish it.

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PuzzlingPandora

A layered tale and great summer read! Meryl Streep makes you think she is telling her story.

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Anonymous

I found this book so boring.

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Rachel B.

Entertaining, but (some BIG buts).... be prepared for liberal agenda: pandemic (but no character gets sick -hmmm?) & climate change depressed one daughter so much that she's not going to have children... The world is going to end!

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Kim Ellis

Not my cup of tea....I personally felt this was a sweet story but pointless...I never ever figured out the plot....

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Anonymous

Loved her character development.

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Kielo B.

Excellent read

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Amy K.

I loved everything about this book and couldn't wait to listen every time I got in my car. I don't know how people could find the story boring. Maybe it held me because I'm a mother of two daughters. Maybe the experience of isolating with your family during the pandemic resonated - time spent together that never would have occurred otherwise. Maybe it was Meryl Streep's lovely voice. I don't know but it was pure pleasure for me.

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Anonymous

Painfully tedious. Having liked many AnnPatchett books what a shock to put it down. Insufferable drivel. It’s like she’s forgotten how to be interesting. The storyline is a family with three adult daughters stuck at home during the pandemic and mom entertains them with the story of her youth. You the reader are trapped listening to the endless observations of mom about her family who are all pointedly absorbed with one another and thinking they’re endlessly amusing and unique. Then there’s the anachronisms. Mom came of age in the 80s. Were Marlboros still cool then? Or was that the 50’s? Was theater important or meaningful then or was that the 60’s? Then there’s the endless breezy nattering. It’s set on a cherry farm with the kind of farm life cliches only someone’s who’s never set foot on a farm would include. I had to turn the book off. The Kardashians have more depth. I can churn out a more engaging piece of writing using AI. How did this happen?

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Anonymous

Not even Meryl Streep can save this boring novel

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Anonymous

The imagery is beautiful

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Ann B.

wonderfully written but the daughters are a bit stereotypical.

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Mary S.

I felt it was slow until the last third of the book. The saving grace was the voice of Meryl Streep and being able to speed up the narration. There was a lot of detail about the acting and farming that I feel were not necessary. For me this book was just ok. If it was not a bookclub selection I probably would not have finished it.

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Susan M.

It’s Meryl so the narration is impeccable, but the story muh

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Anonymous

Amazing book

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Anonymous

Nice story,it did start off slow, but I stuck with it and enjoyed the story

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Diane B.

Started off a little slow, but as the book progresses it offers profound insights into young infatuation love versus mature love with commitment. Also shows how mother - daughter relationships change as the daughters become adults with more mature perspectives and acceptance..

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Angela M.

I really liked the book. I can see where people think it is boring but again, people just do not have the patience to stop, listen and really let it soak in. Ann Patchett writes beautifully, a master at character development but I'm not sure if I'd characterize her books as thinking "I cannot wait to get back to that book" while I'm at work. One thing I will say is whatever she writes you feel like you are in the room with the characters and can see it all clearly. Good book! I think Meryl Streep is an amazing actress but kind of like when she had Tom Hanks read "The Dutch House", I would've rather an unknown or one the more popular audiobook readers perform it. Hearing their familiar voices just have the opposite response from me.

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Anonymous

Beautifully narrated - Whatever Lara saw in Duke is beyond my understanding.

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Kelly G.

Beautifully written story and beautifully narrated.

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Margaret E.

This plot of this novel is not necessarily a riveting one, but the subtleties, conversations, and the relationships of the characters ARE what are riveting. Meryl Streep absolutely nailed it with her endearing narration. I loved it cover-to-cover, laughed often, was so moved by this family, and didn't want it to end.

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Anonymous

Loved the performance by Ms. Streep! Entertaining story line.

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Anonymous

Loved it.

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Anonymous

I loved this book and the narration was top notch. Meryl Streep was perfection and she just hooked me from the opening lines to the end. It saddened me that I completed the book.

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Gitte B.

Like being submerged in a soft seat in the cinema for 11 hours and 22 minutes of wonderful storytelling. I could have sat there for 12 hours more.

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Stephanie C.

M Streep was the perfect narrator for this excellent book!

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Athenasw

Wow. Wow, wow! Loved the story so much. So, we’ll-constructed with surprises along the way as always. Ann Patchett always takes up on a journey into the fictional lives of others. Meryl Streep’s performance was so compelling, I couldn’t wait to listen. What a great complimentary duo. Highly recommend!

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Ann P.

This is a lovely book. I adore the family interaction and how Our Town and The Cherry Orchard are woven throughout. Great subtleties and beautiful writing. Well, Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep…consistently spectacular.

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Cathy S.

What an incredible story!! I hung on every word! I will miss these characters.

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Linda C.

Sweet story, the best part was the narration.

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Linda B.

Such a great listen! Meryl Streep perfectly gives life and voice to Lara. Great work as always with Ann Patchet. Love her writing. Makes me want to write and explore my life before kids.

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Linda W.

Great story and tremendous listening experience Meryl's voice was perfect for this family story.

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Kourtney K.

Nobody weaves a story or paints a picture like Ann Patchett - The last third of the book was my absolute favorite part - but it was all captivating

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