The Patch

The Patch


by John McPhee
13 DEC 2018

Add To Cart

Pub Date: 13 December, 2018
Extent: 256pp
Format: Paperback
RightsUK & Comm. (exc. Can): Text Publishing; Other Rights: FSG


This wide-ranging essay collection serves as a covert memoir of a cult literary figure—New Yorker writer John McPhee.

John McPhee’s The Patch is just that: patches of work across a writer’s lifetime that come together to form a quilt of essays, reflections and reminiscences.

Ranging across a variety of genres and styles, subjects and moods, his patches are collected from writings that have not previously appeared in any book.

This collection is divided into Part I ‘The Sporting Scene’ and Part II ‘An Album Quilt’. It includes vignettes of his childhood hunting golf balls in the woods, the career and choices of a famous lacrosse coach, Joan Baez’s journey into a musical career, his daughter’s response to a high-school vocabulary test and his travels across the United States.

John McPhee’s singular style keeps each patch fitting comfortably with the next; each text falls seamlessly within the rhyme and rhythm of a larger work.

Fit to be consumed all at once, or savoured piecemeal, The Patch gives a full taste of his impeccable power over language.


‘McPhee’s sentences are born of patience and attention: he seems to possess a pair of eyes with the swivel, zoom and reach of a peregrine falcon’s, and a pair of ears with the recording ability of a dictaphone. He notices almost everything.’ Guardian

‘The most versatile journalist in America.’ New York Times Book Review

‘No one else can take topics as diverse and seemingly dry and make of them such diverting, entertaining and educational literature.’ Library Journal

‘McPhee has created a style—blending detailed reporting with a novelistic sense of narrative—and a standard that have influenced a whole generation of journalists.’ Baltimore Sun


New York Times talks to John McPhee
PRI, Studio 360 
Lit Hub 
Radio National, Book Hub


Publishers Weekly