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Summary

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was 11 and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at 21, the accident that would make her a widow at 41. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others. 

So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman - and her nine-year-old daughter, and her dog - will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things. 

A bittersweet novel of hope and regret, fulfilment and renewal, Clock Dance brings us the everyday life of a woman who decides it’s never too late to change direction and choose your own path.

©2018 Anne Tyler (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"She is and always will be my favourite author." (Liane Moriarty)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful - as you'd expect from such a fine write

I've loved Anne Tylers books for years and this doesn't disappoint.

it's slow evocative style gently draws out the quiet loneliness and desperation so many people live with and suffuses it gently with humanity and eventually meaning. All her books are essentially about connection and how people founder without it.

This is gorgeous book. It feels almost slight, but I am sure it will linger and come back to me as so many of her other have. In particular the characters are so well drawn they feel completely real. There's a strong feeling that long after you've finished the book they'll be quietly carrying on about their lives inside the virtual cover

If you're a fan of listening at faster speeds, this narration is beautiful slow and I easily listened at 2.5 speed. I deliberately slowed down in places to savour the words.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I wish this book went on forever

I loved this book. I think it might become my new favourite Anne Tyler novel. The ease with which she weaves an utterly compelling story out of seemingly ‘ordinary’ lives is outstanding. The narration superb too. If I could give more than five stars I would.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect!

Very much up to Anne Tyler’s usual high standard. A charming story, beautifully written and related.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Will she or won't she?

Willa is a child in Lark City, Pennsylvania at the beginning of Anne Tyler’s22nd novel, bewildered by the temporary disappearance of her temperamental and destructive mother. I like the way her life is followed through the decades following into her sixties.
How do childhood experiences shape our lives? We see how Willa’s longing to be (unlike her mother) mild and unnoticed inspired her two marriages as a response to those early years. It’s not until the very last sentence that we see whether or not she will at long last break out. Will she return to the controlling husband who spends a lot of time on the golf course and calls her ‘little one’, or make a new life with all its risks and possibilities?
The narration and the people are (not surprisingly) very American, but Tyler’s observations are universal. Tyler’s skill is showing how quiet, ordinary lives are shaped by their early years: what is lost and more positively what can be salvaged and eventually grow. Well worth listening to if rather drawn out in places.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Family Dynamics Laid Bare

Anne Tyler loves families and likes to get under their sin to show how they work, and sometimes don’t. Clock Dance is no exception. Beautifully written and read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lots to think about...

wonderfully observed, so well written and a great performance by the reader. Didn't want it to end!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not her best.

I've read/listened to many of Anne Tyler's books but this one was really rather dull. Definitely not her best.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A gentle story of what if...

Anne Tyler has always been a genius of the everyday. Here, her characters pull you quietly toward the next unfolding. I read a review in the guardian which said the book was lacking in pace. For me, it was perfectly paced, with beautifully observed moments, where people almost say what they ought but don’t quite do so. I loved it. Be patient, stay with it. You won’t be sorry...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another outstanding piece of literature

One woman’s story is told with a gentle touch. I loved every page of this magnificent book. Highly Recommended!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Teresa
  • Inverurie, United Kingdom
  • 24-09-18

A Whole Lot of Nothing!!

I found this book blandly well written with vaguely sketched, vanilla characters. Basically nothing happens, then nothing happens and then an almighty climax of nothing happening. It's fine if you like something very easy and very dull but was a mistake for me. The performance, much like the story, is fine but boring.