The Sunday Times best seller
Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Fiction prize
A Richard and Judy Book Club pick
"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..."
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer's day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.
From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define the family. From Red's father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century - four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home....
©2015 Anne Tyler (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks
"She's changed my perception on life." (Anna Chancellor)
"One of my favourite authors." (Liane Moriarty)
"She spins gold." (Elizabeth Buchan)
"Anne Tyler has no peer." (Anita Shreve)
"My favourite writer, and the best line-and-length novelist in the world." (Nick Hornby)
"A masterly author." (Sebastian Faulks)
"Tyler is not merely good, she is wickedly good." (John Updike)
"I love Anne Tyler." (Anita Brookner)
"Her fiction has strength of vision, originality, freshness, unconquerable humour." (Eudora Welty)
"Anne Tyler is one of my favourite writers and this is a delicious book" (Rachel Joyce)
Kildonan by the sea
“The trouble with dying,” she’d told Jeannie once, “is that you don’t get to see how everything turns out. You won’t know the ending.”
― Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread
Beautifully written and full of interesting characters, a study of love in families, with all the misunderstandings, bindings and secrets that individuals carry to build a unit that shifts through time and our very existence.
“Abby had a little trick that she used any time Red acted like a cranky old codger. She reminded herself of the day she had fallen in love with him.”
― Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread
I did not think I was going to like this book, but in the end it seduced me into its rhythm and language and the people that it so gently loves and describes, sometimes with humor, sometimes with sadness that made the pages difficult to see.
“But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them. What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to? And their assignment is to report on the experiences they collected during their time on earth. The hardware store their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till the tears streamed down their cheeks, and the Saturdays when their grandchildren sat next to them gluing Popsicle sticks. The spring mornings they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoons with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night. ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like. What it was like to be alive.”
― Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread
A celebration of what families are and the love we sometimes find so hard to express, made all too evident in the lives of this family Anne Tyler created with so much skill and care for all the delicate memories, that remind us that our memories and of their importance; of how we never want to misplace them because they are the essence of our lives.
Love the reader Kimberly Farr, she presented the story even more vividly than a group of actors could.
This is the first of Anne Tyler's books I have read and for the first couple of chapters I didn't like it, it seemed to be dull and not going anywhere.
I am a Psychotherapist and we don't make judgements - wrong, I made judgements about the beautifully drawn characters at first negatively, but each time I heard their stories I found myself empathising with them. They made me laugh and cry, feel angry and happy by turns. This a great book for anyone who is interested in people and what makes them tick.
Now I can't wait to read another of her books.
I read this because it was on everyone's must read list. I never felt as though it really got going. I have read several books which focus on the minutiae of life and thoroughly enjoyed them. This was kind of meh.
No to Anne Tyler, yes to Kimberly Farr.
It has put me off other books by Anne Tyler.
Enjoyed Linny May and Junior's story more than the rest.
I found most of the book very tedious, and I kept waiting in vain for something interesting to happen.
Beautiful attention to detail in dialogue, characterisation and description. Relates the everyday drama and highs and lows of family life.
I absolutely loved this book in all its multi-layered glory.Kimberly Farr does an exquisite job of the narration, each character's voice clearly resounding, making the story come alive. I won't talk about the plot as it would spoil Ann Tyler's twists and turns, but the writing is beautiful and the characters take on a life of their own. Suffice to say that if you purchase this book you won't regret it.
I love many of Anne Tyler's books and have read almost of them I think. But this is the second audio book of hers I have bought and I didn't enjoy either of them. Maybe I chose the wrong books, or maybe they work better for me 'in my head' rather than being read to.
I see from the reviews of this recording that views are polarized - but several reviewers said they found it boring and so did I.
The gentleness of her writing and skillful character drawing are both present in this book - the problem really began with me realizing about 25% of the way in, that I didn't like any of the characters she had drawn, except maybe one of Abby's daughters. The elder son just annoyed me, as did the family's rather pathetic 'fear' of him and his casually nasty behaviour. Then we veered off into a distant back-story...I was bored by this point and I considered abandoning it, but I kept going.
The story goes back and forth and though there are some plot twists, nothing much really happens. I don't usually mind that, as long as the journey is rewarding but for me, it was not.
The narration was OK; it did seem to match the dull, rather whiny tone of the book. No-one was ever really happy it seemed; but no-one was unhappy enough to tackle it. So the family, much like the book, just drift.
I honestly have no idea who would want to read about such a mondain subject matter.
It would have been really helpful if at least one character had done something even remotely remarkable
If lituary books are about character and popular books are about plot, then this novel has failed spectacularily on both fronts.
I have listened to this book on audible as a professional narrator can bring a book alive. The narrator was very good, but where there is no plot, there is no plot. I have listened for 7 hours and there is no way I can go for another however many hours. In fact I can't bear nother 5 min of it. Why would anyone read about such an utterly unremarkable family? I did not get to like even one of the characters, every single one was just so plain that you could not even hate them. They merely irritate ! Its like spying on your neighbours through the bedroom curtains !
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Itntook me a little whilento get intomit but gradually I was drawn in completely. The narrator enhanced my experience as her voice was so interesting to listen to.
A deep and rich evocation of family. Anne Tyler creates yet another wonderful world full of the details that make fiction seem even more vivid than life. A writer at the peak of her imaginative powers sharing with us her wisdom and insight on the frailty and wonder of what it means to belong to the people we are related to.
Ah, Tyler does it again! So satisfying and complete. Heart filled and sweeping extended family drama with unexpected forays and a good ending.
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