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Monday, November 30, 2015

Anne Tyler's World

It's been six years since my last visit to Anne Tyler's quotidian - yet wholly magical - world. Though her 2015 novel  - "A Spool Of Blue Thread" - is of a piece with every Tyler novel I've loved, that did not interfere at all with my enjoyment. Her gifts continue enchanting me.

Set in Baltimore - as most Tyler novels are - the book starts and finishes with Denny, prodigal son of Abby and Red Whitshank. Between those bookends, Tyler masterfully toggles from the Depression to the near present, though not necessarily chronologically. Though Abby and Red's courtship and long marriage form the core of the novel, the story of how Red's parents come together brilliantly showcases Tyler's comedic side. Also, the house Red's parents come to occupy - the same one where Abby and Red later raise Denny and his three siblings - is itself almost a character.

The secrets of the Whitshank family are effortlessly revealed and totally plausible; capital "S" surprises are not Tyler's style. Her unmistakable talent is never turning day-to-day domestic events into drama. And reading Anne Tyler's dialogue is always like eavesdropping on a conversation.

Would welcome hearing from anyone who has ever visited Anne Tyler's world - this novel or any other. Thanks to my youngest sister for recommending and then loaning me the book. What a posse I've got.          

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