This was the first Anne Tyler that I’ve read, which is pretty crazy considering how often she’s recommended to me, and I’m very happy to recommend her to you.
If you read my movie blog, you’ll perhaps have read my review of the film adaptation of her book The Accidental Tourist, which I loved. If you you know that film, you’ll understand some of the tone of this book. It centers around the Whitshank family, Abby and her husband Red, and their four children, spooling back to take in the lives of Red’s parents. They family are quirky, awkward, loving and hilarious, each a well drawn character in their own right. It’s a book about love, family, children, and the way in which we are drawn and repelled by our feeling of belonging or not belonging.
But perhaps most of all, it’s a book about a house. Red’s father built the house where almost all the action takes place. It’s his obsession, and he puts all his love and hopes for the future, all of himself into it. But he does not own the house, it’s built for another family. Like a lot of the characters stories in this book, there is the garnished story, the way history is remembered and retold, and the real story that is often less romantic. I really like that about this book, it’s very funny and down to earth. And I love the way that the house comes to be owned by the Whitshanks, and how they all feel about each other, and the way their stories each unfold. It’s a very entertaining book, and although it has heartfelt moments, it’s also delightful, witty and insightful.
I’ll be looking out for more Anne Tyler books in future. I recommend her to you too.
Read It If: I think a lot of you will like this one. It’s an eccentric book about a beautiful house and the eccentric people who inhabit it.