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From the beloved Anne Tyler, a sparkling new novel—an instant New York Times bestseller—about misperception, second chances, and the sometimes elusive power of human connection.
Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, he seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life.
But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a "girlfriend") tells him she's facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah's meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.
An intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, and a funny, joyful, deeply compassionate story about seeing the world through new eyes, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a triumph, filled with Anne Tyler's signature wit and gimlet-eyed observation.
“Tyler's novels are always worth scooping up—but especially this gently amusing soother, right now.” —NPR
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“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . . ” This is how Abby Whitshank always describes the day she fell in love with Red in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor.
Praise for A Spool of Blue Thread
“An act of literary enchantment . . . [Anne] Tyler remains among the best chroniclers of family life this country has ever produced.”—The Washington Post
“Quintessential Anne Tyler, as well as quintessential American comedy . . . [She] has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving.”—The New York Times Book Review
“By my count I’ve now reviewed around fifty books for USA Today. I’ve never given any of them four stars until today: to A Spool of Blue Thread, the masterful twentieth novel by Anne Tyler.”—USA Today
“By the end of this deeply beguiling novel, we come to know a reality entirely different from the one at the start.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Well-crafted, utterly absorbing and compelling . . . probably the best novel you will read all year.”—Chicago Tribune
“A miracle of sorts . . . tender, touching and funny . . . [an] understated masterpiece.”—Associated Press
“Exploring [the] dichotomy—the imperfections that reside within a polished exterior—is Tyler’s specialty, and her latest generation-spanning work accomplishes just that, masterfully and monumentally.”—Elle
“The story of any family is told through the prism of time. And no storyteller compares to Tyler when it comes to unspooling those tales.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Vintage Anne Tyler . . . [The Whitshanks are] rendered with such immediacy and texture that they might be our next-door neighbors.”—Los Angeles Times
“The magic of Tyler’s novels [is that] you imagine these characters carrying on, muddling through, enduring the necessary sorrows and quiet joys of their lives somewhere beyond the page.”—The Seattle Times
“The sort of novel that’s hard to disentangle yourself from. Warm, charming and emotionally radiant, it surely must be counted as among Tyler’s best.
Willa Drake has had three opportunities to start her life over: in 1967, as a schoolgirl whose mother has suddenly disappeared; in 1977, when considering a marriage proposal; and in 1997, as a young widow trying to hold her family together. So she is surprised when in 2017 she is given one last chance to change everything, after receiving a startling phone call from a stranger.
Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to help a young woman she's never met. This impulsive decision, maybe the first one she’s consciously made in her life, will lead Willa into uncharted territory—surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places.
A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.
One of the Best Books of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, The Christian Science Monitor
Abandoned by her wanderlusting husband, stoic Pearl raised her three children on her own. Now grown, the siblings are inextricably linked by their memories—some painful—which hold them together despite their differences.
Hardened by life’s disappointments, wealthy, charismatic Cody has turned cruel and envious. Thrice-married Jenny is errant and passionate. And Ezra, the flawed saint of the family, who stayed at home to look after his mother, runs a restaurant where he cooks what other people are homesick for, stubbornly yearning for the perfect family he never had.
Now gathered during a time of loss, they will reluctantly unlock the shared secrets of their past and discover if what binds them together is stronger than what tears them apart.
“[In Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant Tyler] has arrived at a new level of power.” —John Updike, The New Yorker
“Marvelous, astringent, hilarious, [and] strewn with the banana peels of love.” —Cosmopolitan
Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Evoking Jane Austen, Emma Straub, and other masters of the literary marriage, Breathing Lessons celebrates the small miracles and magic of truly knowing someone.
Unfolding over the course of a single emotionally fraught day, this stunning novel encompasses a lifetime of dreams, regrets and reckonings—and is oftern regarded as Tyler's seminal work. Maggie and Ira Moran are on a road trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of a friend. Along the way, they reflect on the state of their marriage, its trials and its triumphs—through their quarrels, their routines, and their ability to tolerate each other’s faults with patience and affection. Where Maggie is quirky, lovable and mischievous, Ira is practical, methodical and mired in reason. What begins as a day trip becomes a revelatory and unexpected journey, as Ira and Maggie rediscover the strength of their bond and the joy of having somebody with whom to share the ride, bumps and all.
“More powerful and moving than anything [Tyler] has done.” —Los Angeles Times
Susanna has an incredible gift: she can heal ailments with just the touch of her hand. People travel from far and wide based on their faith in her abilities. But Susanna’s power only works in certain cases—it’s a semi-miracle. And as she grows into a woman, and tries to build a life of her own, her calling to fix and cure becomes more of a burden than she could ever have imagined. Why is she able to take people’s pain away sometimes, and not others, not when she needs to most of all? With the balm of time, and the wisdom of experience, Susanna must learn to live with the mysterious nature of her miracle.
Available to readers for the first time since its initial publication, this is a wry and moving story by an American master.
“Not merely good . . . she is wickedly good.” —John Updike
Look for Clock Dance, the charming new novel from Anne Tyler, available this July.
They seemed like the perfect couple—young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away), walked into his mother’s grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married.
Pauline, impulsive, impractical, tumbles hit-or-miss through life; Michael, plodding, cautious, judgmental, proceeds deliberately. While other young marrieds, equally ignorant at the start, seemed to grow more seasoned, Pauline and Michael remain amateurs. In time their foolish quarrels take their toll. Even when they find themselves, almost thirty years later, loving, instant parents to a little grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, they still cannot bridge their deep-rooted differences. Flighty Pauline clings to the notion that the rifts can always be patched. To the unyielding Michael, they become unbearable.
From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counterculture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayered apparel of later years, Anne Tyler captures the evocative nuances of everyday life during these decades with such telling precision that every page brings smiles of recognition. Throughout, as each of the competing voices bears witness, we are drawn ever more fully into the complex entanglements of family life in this wise, embracing, and deeply perceptive novel.
Travel writer Macon Leary hates travel, adventure, surprises, and anything outside of his routine. Immobilized by grief, Macon is becoming increasingly prickly and alone, anchored by his solitude and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts. Then he meets Muriel, an eccentric dog trainer too optimistic to let Macon disappear into himself. Despite Macon’s best efforts to remain insulated, Muriel up-ends his solitary, systemized life, catapulting him into the center of a messy, beautiful love story he never imagined. A fresh and timeless tale of unexpected bliss, The Accidental Tourist showcases Tyler’s talents for making characters—and their relationships—feel both real and magical.
“Incandescent, heartbreaking, exhilarating…One cannot reasonably expect fiction to be much better than this.” —The Washington Post
Look for Clock Dance, the charming new novel from Anne Tyler, available now.
Mrs. Emerson, widowed with seven adult children, lives alone in crumbling Victorian mansion outside Baltimore with only a collection of antique clocks to keep her company. Elizabeth Abbott—twenty-three years old, aimless, bohemian, and beautiful—leads a vagabond lifestyle until she happens upon Mrs. Emerson’s home and convinces the older woman to hire her as a handyman.
When three of the strange, idiosyncratic Emerson children return to their childhood home for a visit, they are irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth. With wondrous observations and bittersweet humor, Tyler shows how this unsuspecting young woman becomes the North star that helps a stumbling, dysfunctional family find its footing.
"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." The woman is Rebecca Davitch, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother.
On the surface, Beck, as she is known to the Davitch clan, is outgoing, joyous, a natural celebrator. Giving parties is, after all, her vocation—something she married into after Joe Davitch spotted her at an engagement party in his family’s crumbling nineteenth-century Baltimore row house, where giving parties was his family business. What caught Joe's fancy was that she seemed to be having such a wonderful time.
Soon this large-spirited divorcé with three little girls swept Beck into his orbit, and before she knew it she was embracing his extended family—plus a child of their own—and hosting endless parties in the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of The Open Arms.
Now, some thirty years later, after presiding over a disastrous family party, Rebecca is caught un-awares by the question of who she really is. Is she an impostor in her own life? Is it indeed her own life? How she answers—how she tries to recover her girlhood self, that dignified grownup she had once been—is the story told in this beguiling, funny, and deeply moving novel.