I finished Truth and Beauty, and it made me cry. It made me cry even though I knew what was going to happen; regardless, when it happened, tears welled up in my eyes (quite a contrast to the other side of the bed, where one could hear Mark saying things like "Fuck!", "Son of a BITCH!", "What the FUCK?" and so on as he played Advance Wars).
Anyway, I wanted to post a passage from Truth and Beauty:
"But Lucy had been alone too much of her life, and in her loneliness she had constructed a vision of what a perfect relationship would look like. Love, in her imagination, was so dazzling, so tender and unconditional, that anything human seemed impossibly thin by comparison.
Lucy's loneliness was breathtaking in its enormity. If she emptied out Grand Central Station and filled it with the people she knew well, the people who loved her, there would be more than a hundred people there. But a hundred people in such a huge space just rattle around. You could squeeze us all into a single bar. With some effort you could push us into a magazine shop. If you added to that number all the people who loved her because of her book, all the people who admired her, all the people who had heard her speak or had seen her on television or listened to her on the radio and loved the sound of her odd little voice, you could pack in thousands and thousands more people, and still it wouldn't feel full, not full enough to take up every square inch of her loneliness. Lucy thought that all she needed was one person, the right person, and all the empty space would be taken away from her. But there was no one in the world who was big enough for that. She believed that if she had a jaw that was like everyone else's jaw, she would have found that person by now. She was trapped in a room full of mirrors, and every direction she looked in she saw herself, her face, her loneliness. She couldn't see that no one else was perfect either, and that so much of love was the work of it. She had worked on everything else. Love would have to be charmed." ~pp. 170-171
Whether or not one agrees with Lucy's belief that a life partner is necessary for true happiness, I felt that Ann Patchett's words really illuminated a problem that shadowed not only Lucy's life, but many lives. Is this not a question we all grapple with at one time or another?