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Friday, September 21, 2012

Considering Anne Tyler

Among authors I count as favorites, articulating what I enjoy about Anne Tyler presents the biggest challenge. Which favorite author presents a similar dilemma for you?

It's possible some of my difficulty is related to the lack of "big" action in Tyler's beautifully written books. Her characters are vividly drawn, although their lives are rarely dramatic. Families are typically at the core of her work but dysfunction with a capital "D" is usually not central to the stories. And like many novelists, Tyler often features a city in her work; in her case, it's Baltimore. Yet even her well constructed descriptions of the idiosyncrasies of Baltimore do not draw attention to themselves.

I've greatly enjoyed all Tyler's best known work: "Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant" (1982), "The Accidental Tourist" (1985), which was nicely adapted to film, and her Pulitzer Prize Winner "Breathing Lessons" (1988). But based on the back-of-book notes I began making years ago, "Saint Maybe" (1991) and "Amateur Marriage" (2004) are the two novels that landed hardest with me. Asked to recall much more than what is contained in my notes however, and I'd come up short. But I do remember something about the experience of reading all her books - re-reading the first few chapters immediately after I finish. I have trouble letting go.       

2 comments:

  1. Anne Tyler. Hands down a favorite with a big F Why? For me because I clearly see myself in her characters

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    1. Sue; Been a long time between comments for you. Curious to know which Anne Tyler character you've most identified with. And, which of her novels is your favorite?

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