Man Booker Shortlist Review Anne Tyler's 'A Spool of Blue Thread' - The AtlanticThis review was originally published on February 7 and has been republished to mark the author's nomination for the Man Booker Prize Tyler published her first novel, aged 23, in But, while all this may suggest an officially accredited major novelist, the debate about how good Tyler really is has never quite gone away — or even changed very much. Put baldly: does she have either the scope or the toughness to qualify for the literary top table? And, although few people deny the deftness of her individual observations or her enormous sympathy for all concerned, some maintain that this sympathy can often curdle into overfondness and sentimentality. This debate is unlikely to be settled by A Spool of Blue Thread. Once again, too, the sheer surprise of finding yourself old figures prominently: something that Tyler has long explored, in earlier books through characters who work with the elderly, but here through the seventysomethings Red and Abby themselves.
A Spool of BLue Thread (ISU Book Talk)
A Spool of Blue Thread
The novel opens and closes with Denny. If not, who is? How did this delay make the metaphor more powerful? What is the metaphor? Compare the way you see them with the way they see themselves.
Picture a middle-class American family, four generations, living in the suburbs. So what else is new? Tyler has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving. Her great gift is playing against the American dream, the dark side of which is the falsehood at its heart: that given hard work and good intentions, any family can attain the Norman Rockwell ideal of happiness — ordinary, homegrown happiness. Happiness indeed eludes the Whitshank family of Baltimore. The house is initially commissioned by a rich businessman, but Junior, who is hired to build it, sets his heart on the place the minute he sees the blueprints, crafts it to his own high standards and eventually acquires it by some mild chicanery.
The extraordinary thing about all her writing is the extent to which she makes one believe every word, deed and breath. A Spool of Blue Thread , her 20th, is no exception. The book is no less eventful than ordinary life — and that turns out to be more than enough. The novel is a portrait of the Whitshank family across several generations. But what she has that neither Robinson nor Munro possess to the same degree is an irrepressible sense of the comedy beneath even the most melancholy surface — or sometimes peeking just above it — in human affairs. Tyler is good on irony too. The son who has most tormented his mother most colonises her heart.
A Spool of Blue Thread book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A freshly observed, joyful and wrenching, funny and true.. .
of love and shadows book review
Anne Tyler: ‘I am not a spiritual person’
GPV530 Book Review - A Spool of Blue Thread
I did however, enjoy my first Anne Tyler read Great book cover Excellent discussion book!!! Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….
So I consulted some commentary on her work to get myself oriented. In the eyes of many longtime readers, Tyler is especially gifted in her ability to deliver graceful, touching tales of the ordinary. I then tried to put these data points—and any accompanying urge to assign A Spool of Blue Thread a brow, middle or high—aside. I wanted to use my unfamiliarity with Tyler as an asset, looking to the novel itself for clues about how to read it, about what she was really getting at here. Early on, it became clear that her interest in families and the stories their members tell goes deeper than a self-indulgent fondness for the comforts of homespun yarns. In fact, Tyler shows herself to be as wary of the pitfalls of domestic narrative as her harshest critics. Tyler allows her characters the security blankets of a handful of well-worn family stories even as she reminds her readers just how self-serving these tales can be.
Tyler's story encompasses three generations of the Whitshank family, wandering back and forth over 7 decades of the 20th century. As in many of her previous novels, Tyler explores the resentments that develop and fester between siblings, spouses, and in parent-child connections—as well as their affectionate bonds. That makes it … quintessential Anne Tyler. New York Times veteran reviewer Michiko Kakutani has reviewed many of Tyler's novels and given both glowing and highly critical reviews. A disappointing performance by this talented author, who seems to be coasting on automatic pilot. In warm, lucid prose, Tyler skips back and forth through the twentieth century to depict the Whitshanks…The narrative is as nebulous and interconnected as a long conversation with a relative, peppered with family sects, well-worn anecdotes, and accounts of domestic squabbles