The online sale Accidental Tourist: lowest A Novel sale

The online sale Accidental Tourist: lowest A Novel sale

The online sale Accidental Tourist: lowest A Novel sale
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Product Description

In this irresistible #1 New York Times best-selling novel, Anne Tyler explores the slippery alchemy of attracting opposites, and the struggle to rebuild one’s life after unspeakable tragedy.

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.

Review

“Poignant . . . funny . . .  The Accidental Tourist is one of her best. . . . [Tyler] has never been stronger.” The New York Times

“Bittersweet . . . evocative . . . It’s easy to forget this is the warm lull of fiction; you half-expect to run into her characters at the dry cleaners. . . . Tyler [is] a writer of great compassion.” The Boston Globe

“Tyler has given us an endlessly diverting book whose strength gathers gradually to become a genuinely thrilling one.” Los Angeles Times

“A delight . . . a graceful comic novel about getting through life.” The Wall Street Journal

“A rarely equaled richness and depth . . . Delicious humor . . . Without Anne Tyler, American fiction would be an immeasurably bleaker place.”— Newday

“Incandescent, heartbreaking, exhilarating . . . One cannot reasonably expect fiction to be much better than this." The Washington Post

“Hilarious . . . and touching . . . Anne Tyler is a wise and perceptive writer with a warm understanding of human foibles.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Comic . . . Sweetly perverse . . . A novel animated by witty invention and lively personalities.” Time

“Anne Tyler [is] covering common ground with uncommon insight. . . . Convincingly real.” People

From the Back Cover

"POIGNANT . . . FUNNY . . . "THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST IS ONE OF HER BEST. . . . [TYLER] HAS NEVER BEEN STRONGER."
-"The New York Times
Macon Leary is a travel writer who hates both travel and anything out of the ordinary. He is grounded by loneliness and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts when he meets Muriel, a deliciously peculiar dog-obedience trainer who up-ends Macon''s insular world-and thrusts him headlong into a remarkable engagement with life.
"BITTERSWEET . . . EVOCATIVE . . . It''s easy to forget this is the warm lull of fiction; you half-expect to run into her characters at the dry cleaners . . . Tyler [is] a writer of great compassion."
-"The "Boston Globe
"Tyler has given us an endlessly diverting book whose strength gathers gradually to become a genuinely thrilling one."
-"Los Angeles Times
"A DELIGHT . . . A GRACEFUL COMIC NOVEL ABOUT GETTING THROUGH LIFE."
-"The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

ANNE TYLER is the author of more than twenty novels. Her eleventh novel,  Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

They were supposed to stay at the beach a week, but neither of them had the heart for it and they decided to come back early. Macon drove. Sarah sat next to him, leaning her head against the side window. Chips of cloudy sky showed through her tangled brown curls.

Macon wore a formal summer suit, his traveling suit—much more logical for traveling than jeans, he always said. Jeans had those stiff, hard seams and those rivets. Sarah wore a strapless terry beach dress. They might have been returning from two entirely different trips. Sarah had a tan but Macon didn’t. He was a tall, pale, gray-eyed man, with straight fair hair cut close to his head, and his skin was that thin kind that easily burns. He’d kept away from the sun during the middle part of every day.

Just past the start of the divided highway, the sky grew almost black and several enormous drops spattered the windshield. Sarah sat up straight. “Let’s hope it doesn’t rain,” she said.

“I don’t mind a little rain,” Macon said.

Sarah sat back again, but she kept her eyes on the road.

It was a Thursday morning. There wasn’t much traffic. They passed a pickup truck, then a van all covered with stickers from a hundred scenic attractions. The drops on the windshield grew closer together. Macon switched his wipers on. Tick-swoosh, they went—a lulling sound; and there was a gentle patter on the roof. Every now and then a gust of wind blew up. Rain flattened the long, pale grass at the sides of the road. It slanted across the boat lots, lumberyards, and discount furniture outlets, which already had a darkened look as if here it might have been raining for some time.

“Can you see all right?” Sarah asked.

“Of course,” Macon said. “This is nothing.”

They arrived behind a trailer truck whose rear wheels sent out arcs of spray. Macon swung to the left and passed. There was a moment of watery blindness till the truck had dropped behind. Sarah gripped the dashboard with one hand.

“I don’t know how you can see to drive,” she said.

“Maybe you should put on your glasses.”

“Putting on my glasses would help you to see?”

“Not me; you,” Macon said. “You’re focused on the windshield instead of the road.”

Sarah continued to grip the dashboard. She had a broad, smooth face that gave an impression of calm, but if you looked closely you’d notice the tension at the corners of her eyes.

The car drew in around them like a room. Their breaths fogged the windows. Earlier the air conditioner had been running and now some artificial chill remained, quickly turning dank, carrying with it the smell of mildew. They shot through an underpass. The rain stopped completely for one blank, startling second. Sarah gave a little gasp of relief, but even before it was uttered, the hammering on the roof resumed. She turned and gazed back longingly at the underpass. Macon sped ahead, with his hands relaxed on the wheel.

“Did you notice that boy with the motorcycle?” Sarah asked. She had to raise her voice; a steady, insistent roaring sound engulfed them.

“What boy?”

“He was parked beneath the underpass.”

“It’s crazy to ride a motorcycle on a day like today,” Macon said. “Crazy to ride one any day. You’re so exposed to the elements.”

“We could do that,” Sarah said. “Stop and wait it out.”

“Sarah, if I felt we were in the slightest danger I’d have pulled over long ago.”

“Well, I don’t know that you would have,” Sarah said.

They passed a field where the rain seemed to fall in sheets, layers and layers of rain beating down the cornstalks, flooding the rutted soil. Great lashings of water flung themselves at the windshield. Macon switched his wiper blades to high.

“I don’t know that you really care that much,” Sarah said. “Do you?”

Macon said, “Care?”

“I said to you the other day, I said, ‘Macon, now that Ethan’s dead I sometimes wonder if there’s any point to life.’ Do you remember what you answered?”

“Well, not offhand,” Macon said.

“You said, ‘Honey, to tell the truth, it never seemed to me there was all that much point to begin with.’ Those were your exact words.”

“Um . . .”

“And you don’t even know what was wrong with that.”

“No, I guess I don’t,” Macon said.

He passed a line of cars that had parked at the side of the road, their windows opaque, their gleaming surfaces bouncing back the rain in shallow explosions. One car was slightly tipped, as if about to fall into the muddy torrent that churned and raced in the gully. Macon kept a steady speed.

“You’re not a comfort, Macon,” Sarah said.

“Honey, I’m trying to be.”

“You just go on your same old way like before. Your little routines and rituals, depressing habits, day after day. No comfort at all.”

“Shouldn’t I need comfort too?” Macon asked. “You’re not the only one, Sarah. I don’t know why you feel it’s your loss alone.”

“Well, I just do, sometimes,” Sarah said.

They were quiet a moment. A wide lake, it seemed, in the center of the highway crashed against the underside of the car and slammed it to the right. Macon pumped his brakes and drove on.

“This rain, for instance,” Sarah said. “You know it makes me nervous. What harm would it do to wait it out? You’d be showing some concern. You’d be telling me we’re in this together.”

Macon peered through the windshield, which was streaming so that it seemed marbled. He said, “I’ve got a system, Sarah. You know I drive according to a system.”

“You and your systems!”

“Also,” he said, “if you don’t see any point to life, I can’t figure why a rainstorm would make you nervous.”

Sarah slumped in her seat.

“Will you look at that!” he said. “A mobile home’s washed clear across that trailer park.”

“Macon, I want a divorce,” Sarah told him.

Macon braked and glanced over at her. “What?” he said. The car swerved. He had to face forward again. “What did I say?” he asked. “What did it mean?”

“I just can’t live with you anymore,” Sarah said.

Macon went on watching the road, but his nose seemed sharper and whiter, as if the skin of his face had been pulled tight. He cleared his throat. He said, “Honey. Listen. It’s been a hard year. We’ve had a hard time. People who lose a child often feel this way; everybody says so; everybody says it’s a terrible strain on a marriage—”

“I’d like to find a place of my own as soon as we get back,” Sarah told him.

“Place of your own,” Macon echoed, but he spoke so softly, and the rain beat so loudly on the roof, it looked as if he were only moving his lips. “Well,” he said. “All right. If that’s what you really want.”

“You can keep the house,” Sarah said. “You never did like moving.”

For some reason, it was this that made her finally break down. She turned away sharply. Macon switched his right blinker on. He pulled into a Texaco station, parked beneath the overhang, and cut off the engine. Then he started rubbing his knees with his palms. Sarah huddled in her corner. The only sound was the drumming of rain on the overhang far above them.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
1,141 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

HT
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent Pulitzer Prize winner by Anne Tyler
Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2018
Anne Tyler is the real meal deal. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons and was a runner up with this novel - losing to "Lonesome Dove". She was also a runner up with "Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant"; losing to The "Color Purple."  It took two legendary novels... See more
Anne Tyler is the real meal deal. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons and was a runner up with this novel - losing to "Lonesome Dove". She was also a runner up with "Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant"; losing to The "Color Purple."  It took two legendary novels to keep her off the winners podium.

I read this novel after finishing her "Clock Dance" and was struck by the similarities in the two stories. In both the protagonists are drifting through life following a traumatic death. They are then jolted into the current world and are eventually faced with the decision to go back to their old life or move on with the new.

As the story opens Macon and his wife Sarah are returning from a vacation a couple of years after their son died. "They might have been returning from two entirely different trips." [p 1].  Sarah is exasperated by the ultra-organized Macon and decides to leave him. Sarah doesn’t want to get caught up in Macon’s way of life. “You’re so quick to be sensible, Macon, that you’ve given up on just about everything.” [p 161]

And she is right, Macon organizes everything in an attempt to get some space between himself and his life.

In some odd way, he was locked inside the standoffish self he’d assumed when he and she first met. He was frozen there. It was like that old warning of his grandmother’s: Don’t cross your eyes, they might get stuck that way.” [p 59]

In “Clock Dance” Willa is jolted from her life by the shooting of one of her sons’ ex-girlfriends. Here, Macon breaks his leg which leads him to getting help training his dog. Interestingly, Daisy in “Clock Dance” has a leg injury that precipitates the central change. The hobbled legs are symbols of the inability to move forward.

In this case, Macon is caught up in the hurricane that is Muriel who takes on the job of training Macon’s dog. She is everything that Macon is not; the relationship puts Macon on a different course:

"Then he knew that what mattered was the pattern of her life; that although he did not love her he loved the surprise of her, and also the surprise of himself when he was with her." [p 242]

The Macon at the beginning of the novel would never love the surprises that Muriel brings. Eventually, Sarah returns to Macon forcing him to make a choice - something he has spent his adult life avoiding.

"He couldn’t think of a single major act he had managed of his own accord. Was it too late to begin? Was there any way he could learn to do things differently?" [p 402]

That is Macon’s big question; is his fate due to entropy or purpose? Well, you’ll have to read it to find that out.

If you’ve read any of my other fiction book reports you know I’m a fan of similes - and this book has some gems.

- "The urge to sleep was like a great black cannonball rolling around inside his skull, making his head heavy and droopy.
- “The sky was bright but flat, the color of oyster shells.” [p 304]
- On his cast: “The hardest blow felt like a knock on the wall from a neighboring room.” [p 68]

Finally, I found this passage - in a book written over 30 years ago - speaking to me about our current situation.

“It’s just free speech, that’s all we’ve got. We can say whatever we like, then the government goes on and does exactly what it pleases. You call that democracy? It’s like we’re on a ship, headed someplace terrible, and somebody else is steering and the passengers can’t jump off” [p 208]
13 people found this helpful
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Kilian85710
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Edward isn''t the only one who needs a strong hand
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2017
I had heard the name from the movie starring William Hurt and Geena Davis and that is about all. So when it turned up for $1.99, I decided to give it a chance. Boy, did I get my money''s worth. When Macon Leary''s son is killed in a burger joint robbery, his life... See more
I had heard the name from the movie starring William Hurt and Geena Davis and that is about all. So when it turned up for $1.99, I decided to give it a chance. Boy, did I get my money''s worth.

When Macon Leary''s son is killed in a burger joint robbery, his life comes to an end. Frozen within himself he mechanically goes through the motions of living, but he is dead inside. Unable to give or take comfort from his wife, his marriage falls apart. He is left to live alone with his rituals and a vicious and uncontrolled dog, Edward. He pulls further and further into himself. When the dog hospital refuses to board Edward so Macon can travel to England to write another of his dreary guidebooks for business travelers who want to feel they never left home, he is forced to find an alternative. On impulse, he chooses the Meow-Bow Animal Hospital, and his life is never the same.

He meets Muriel, the dog trainer, and she turns his life upside-down. She is everything he isn''t: spontaneous, free, happy-go-lucky.

How their relationship develops and how he finds himself breaking out of his dreary routine against himself, supplies with bulk of the novel. Rich in observation and free of the usual romance tropes, this delightful novel delights and entertains at every turn. Highly recommended.
19 people found this helpful
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Mindo'ermatter
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Story of Relationships and Self-discovery!
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2021
Anne Tyler created two masterpieces: the book and the classic movie. Both focus on Macon Leary''s ambiguous life after his wife of 20 years suddenly asks him for a divorce just a year after their 12-year-old son, Ethan, was murdered. The book and the movie tell reliably the... See more
Anne Tyler created two masterpieces: the book and the classic movie. Both focus on Macon Leary''s ambiguous life after his wife of 20 years suddenly asks him for a divorce just a year after their 12-year-old son, Ethan, was murdered. The book and the movie tell reliably the same story of Macon''s year-long personal struggle and misadventures in rediscovering himself and realizing how easily he''s persuaded, manipulated, and even controlled by others.

The strength of the book over the movie is its extensive portrayal of Macon''s internal thoughts and reactions to other people''s invasion of his ambivalent life filled with predictable routines amid defined expectations from those around him.

After Sarah moves out and files legal separation papers, Macon''s orderly life suddenly gets pulled in multiple directions simultaneously, creating a series of life-changing events that allow the real Macon Leary to finally emerge, becoming more unpredictable to all who know him. Central to his unexpected transformation is the forward Muriel Pritchard, the woman who first lodges Macon''s dog before becoming the dog''s trainer. First suspicious and unsettled by Muriel''s outspoken and impulsive manner, Macon soon finds himself bonding with this strange, uncouth woman who frees unsettling parts of Macon''s emotional side.

The strong and vivid characters created by the author''s insightful and intense storytelling comes to life through revealing and descriptive dialogues of their quirky personalities and dispositions. These lively interactions alone make the book well worth reading.

The storyline is an experiential journey seen from Macon''s perspectives, as he lives through a neverending series of unexpected events thrust upon him in this dark comedy and absurd portrayal of a man in a true midlife crisis that opens the floodgates of his emerging true self.

The strength of Tyler''s writing is her deep insights into an introverted man''s mind and heart, as he faces the reality of the world he is now forced to live with. This novel has many layers of meaning coupled with eye-opening descriptions to life''s complexities amid differing manifestations and surprises within humanity''s convoluted and intertwined nature.

This book can be read for entertainment, but it''s greatest value comes as a focus of exploration and discussion, while also being exemplary of strong literary writing. I also found Audible''s narration supplement a nice addition to my reading enjoyment.

Because this worthwhile book can and should be read more than once, it deserves a solid 5-star rating, something I rarely give.
2 people found this helpful
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Maree LaRue
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Deserves 3.5 stars, but just a bit dated and odd
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2021
I almost bought this on an impulse based purely on reading the back blurb. While I love supporting local bookstores (shoutout to The Wild Detectives!) I''m glad I didn''t follow through. Okay mainly it was my friend restraining my impulse, but same outcome.... See more
I almost bought this on an impulse based purely on reading the back blurb. While I love supporting local bookstores (shoutout to The Wild Detectives!) I''m glad I didn''t follow through.

Okay mainly it was my friend restraining my impulse, but same outcome.

It took me awhile to understand the setting of this book. Yes, they''re in Baltimore, but when? How much time passes? Is the Leary family to be lauded for practicality or derided for unfeeling rituals? Not comprehending Macon, Muriel and the Leary siblings'' ages until halfway through didn''t help matters. Age may only be a number, but it really mattered to these people.

The story is in third person, entirely Macon''s POV. We start with him and his wife, Sarah, separating a year after their son''s murder. Macon goes a little stir-crazy and gets uber-practical with his cleaning and hygiene. I did enjoy his focus on the pets, that was sweet.

Then we begin to dive into the Leary family''s history and the deep bond between these oft-abandoned adult siblings. They only suit each other...unless someone chooses to stick around.

Anne Tyler wonderfully portrays how grief can sneak up on you amidst daily life and forever change you. She also showcases the downside of closing yourself off from change.

Last silly note: I''m a world traveler that actually LIKES leaving the US. I know it was an inherent character flaw that he was slowly realizing, but Macon''s guidebook premise really irked me. Too many Americans DO think like him, tourists and business travelers alike.

Like my title says, this book deserves 3.5 stars, but just didn''t do it for me. There were too many insular references to technology, dating, and habits of the region (Northeastern US) and the time (80s?) that I just couldn''t decipher or connect with.
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Jean
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
We’re all a little eccentric
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2021
We find ourselves lost in the mind and decisions of an overly eccentric and narcissistic man. He has lost his son, grown apart from his wife and now tries to evaluate every breath of his life, searching for confirmation he is the only sane person alive. Then in walks... See more
We find ourselves lost in the mind and decisions of an overly eccentric and narcissistic man. He has lost his son, grown apart from his wife and now tries to evaluate every breath of his life, searching for confirmation he is the only sane person alive. Then in walks Miriam, a very imperfect person, who drags him into reality.
2 people found this helpful
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Arroway
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2020
One of my favorite books of all time. Anne Tyler writes characters that completely come to life. I''ve probably read this book four or five time over the last twenty years. She was really in the zone when she wrote this. The subject matter is something I normally wouldn''t... See more
One of my favorite books of all time. Anne Tyler writes characters that completely come to life. I''ve probably read this book four or five time over the last twenty years. She was really in the zone when she wrote this. The subject matter is something I normally wouldn''t want to read because it''s sad, but this is book is surprisingly upbeat and hopeful.
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Acake
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Slow start but worth it in the end
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2018
This is a story about a man who has to make a difficult choice about how he wants to live his life. I had difficulty at first connecting to the characters or the plot, but by the time I was halfway through I realized I was very involved with, and in fact quite attached, to... See more
This is a story about a man who has to make a difficult choice about how he wants to live his life. I had difficulty at first connecting to the characters or the plot, but by the time I was halfway through I realized I was very involved with, and in fact quite attached, to them. I didn’t want to put the book down and I didn’t want it to end, always a requirement of a good book. I gave this 4 stars because of the disconnect there seemed to be at the start.
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Loves2ReadSMH
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely pitch perfect in every way.
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2017
This is one of Anne Tyler''s best novels, and (for me, anyway) that''s high praise indeed. It''s impossible to read any of her works without feeling that you''ve known a couple (or more) of these people in your own life. Her dialogue is absolutely spot on for each character... See more
This is one of Anne Tyler''s best novels, and (for me, anyway) that''s high praise indeed. It''s impossible to read any of her works without feeling that you''ve known a couple (or more) of these people in your own life. Her dialogue is absolutely spot on for each character and -- well, if I go on and on it''ll sound gushy and therefore not to be trusted. I''m a huge fan of this author.
6 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

AngelaWheeler
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Feels like wading through treacle
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2018
I wanted to love this as it was recommended to me. So far- I''m a quarter of the way into it- I''m not motivated to read on. Why? Same reasons as other critical reviews here. Macon ( Mack-on? May-con? May-son?) is not a character I''d warm to in real life. He''s simply not that...See more
I wanted to love this as it was recommended to me. So far- I''m a quarter of the way into it- I''m not motivated to read on. Why? Same reasons as other critical reviews here. Macon ( Mack-on? May-con? May-son?) is not a character I''d warm to in real life. He''s simply not that interesting. It''s become obvious from very early on that Muriel is out to ''catch him'' and it''s only a matter of time before he succumbs. Meanwhile we have to go through the dog-training scenes for what seems like forever, with his slightly odd siblings in the background. Tyler does convey emotions and behaviour in detail with some fine observations but- and it''s a big ''but'' - the detail is overdone. Less it more, often. I found myself skimming paragraphs waiting for some action. I also find American language hard going. More than once I had to re-read a sentence, after thinking ''What IS that?'' Like Julian, described as a ''boater''. What was a boater, I puzzled? My immediate vision was of a hat! Oh I see- it''s a ''yachtsman'' or ''sailor''. There were so many examples like this that my reading felt stilted; I was constantly translating into ''English'' English. Overall, I''ve not found any of the characters believable. I don''t care about them or feel empathy. Macron and Muriel- opposites attract. They will have a relationship, will it survive and, more to the point, will I care?
15 people found this helpful
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Cornwallgurl
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Possibly the most wonderful book I’ve read all year
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 20, 2020
No one dedicated to literary fiction can escape Anne Tyler popping up as a recommended read. Many years ago I read “Breathing Lessons” and while I admired its skill, I did find it a bit “American” ie, needed a bit of translating for an English reader, rather parochial and...See more
No one dedicated to literary fiction can escape Anne Tyler popping up as a recommended read. Many years ago I read “Breathing Lessons” and while I admired its skill, I did find it a bit “American” ie, needed a bit of translating for an English reader, rather parochial and very detailed. But the accolades keep coming and I think this book (The Accidental Tourist) must have come up as an Amazon special offer. So I acquired it and it sat on the Kindle awaiting attention. Read the intro, and a couple of pages and left it again. She’s recently published a new book “Redhead at the side of the road”, which as a redhead, sparked my interest. Then I heard a bit of it being read out on Radio 4 and initially thought it was an extract from “The Accidental Tourist”. So I branded her books as “samey”. But, eventually, I got going and wow, was I hooked. But, and here is a horrible confession, I started to display positively Leary family levels of anxiety as to how “Macon” was to be pronounced (in common with many other English readers, it would seem). At first glance I thought “French wine, no cedilla, pronounced Mackon”. Oh, surely not, not at all a euphonious name, even for an American. So I decided it was probably pronounced Mason, in some perverse American spelling, although none of the other siblings had bizarre names, slight exception I suppose, Porter. About two thirds of the way through the book, Muriel calls him phonetically as a tease, and oh horror, it was revealed to be pronounced “May con”. So, you can see this was the right kind of book for me, including appreciating all the grammatical pedantry that Macon exhibits. It’s a sad story of loss, engrained habit and a clearly dysfunctional family who display various characteristics which would now all have labels. Their blissful unconsciousness of the unusualness of their behaviour is part of the delight. But far and away the best character of the book is Edward the unhappy, psychotic corgi brought back to the paths of righteousness by Muriel’s strangely unwanted dog-whispering skills. I think this must be the best animal portrayal in fiction – the wonderful capture of his unique corginess, his behaviour, appearance and movement. Helen the cat was also affectionately portrayed (even when caught in the tumble drier) but she wasn’t a patch on Edward. I hate it when animals have “real” human names, but it just added to the humour and pathos in this case. There is very little actual plot, but I found it totally absorbing, sad and funny by turns. The Accidental Tourist Guides researched and written by Macon certainly rang bells - I’ve come across Americans living abroad who display high levels of alarm at not having all the exact comforts of US life on tap – dealt with by the military Post Exchanges by importing, amongst other things, American ice cream to Italy! Macon’s breakdown following his son’s murder, and he and his wife’s differing approaches to dealing with it leading to their separation was so sensitive, and rang very true. The Learys are a very strange family, and Muriel and her relations are pretty freaky as well, but none of them are actively unpleasant, and are all portrayed with such warmth and affection that I really rooted for them all – hoping against hope that ultimately it would all work out and no one would get hurt. But of course that’s not how real life works, and I found the little twist at the end bitter sweet. I loved the precise skewering of emotions, the wonderful descriptions and the humour – I will definitely read another book by Anne Tyler, but not too soon in case it really does turn out to be more of the same.
6 people found this helpful
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E. Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Compulsive reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2020
When I started this book I didn’t think I would like it much. The main character, an introverted travel writer, was so far from my experience he didn’t seem like a real character. However, as the book went on, I became fascinated by him and his outlandish family and (semi)...See more
When I started this book I didn’t think I would like it much. The main character, an introverted travel writer, was so far from my experience he didn’t seem like a real character. However, as the book went on, I became fascinated by him and his outlandish family and (semi) girlfriend. The characters in the book are so precisely drawn you can easily see them in your minds eye and the story is so different to anything I have read before. I loved it and will be reading more from this writer.
7 people found this helpful
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Clare Sussex
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Will certainly be reading more by this author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2016
This is my first Anne Tyler read, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I loved this novel. The plot develops well, and the quality of the writing is excellent – and grammatical! The characters emerge by what they say and do, not by the writer’s description. As an English...See more
This is my first Anne Tyler read, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I loved this novel. The plot develops well, and the quality of the writing is excellent – and grammatical! The characters emerge by what they say and do, not by the writer’s description. As an English graduate, I empathise with Macon (how does one pronounce his name by the way – Mason? Makkon? Maykon?) when he feels compelled to correct poor English – although I would never have the courage to do it as he does – and I love Muriel – so feisty, so independent, so unglamorous, so ready to take on any job that’s going to earn a living,so determined to bring up her odd son as well as she can. She is totally unfazed by Macon’s more privileged upbringing and education, or by his correcting of her English. Like other reviewers, I came to care about all the characters – Jeremy, Rose, Sarah – even Macon’s brothers, who have a sort of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern aspect. .
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Alexander Bryce
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not quite her best?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 31, 2021
I recently discovered Anne Tyler and am now a big fan, enjoying her work enthusiastically. This one, although perhaps her best known and although an excellent read is not my favourite to date. Interesting , quirky characters, amusing, but something I can’t put my finger on...See more
I recently discovered Anne Tyler and am now a big fan, enjoying her work enthusiastically. This one, although perhaps her best known and although an excellent read is not my favourite to date. Interesting , quirky characters, amusing, but something I can’t put my finger on is lacking. Perhaps it’s the very pedestrian pace of the early chapters.A few of my book worm pals share my views and indeed some gave up on it. I’m now reading and thoroughly enjoying her Abide With Me which for me has all the AnneTyler positives with no negatives what so ever.
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