Hardback: 244 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Chatto and Windus 2022
Source: Tywyn Library
First Sentences: This happened back in March of 2010, when the Philadelphia train station still had the kind of information board that clickety-clacked as the various gate assignments rolled up.
Setting: Maryland, U.S.A.
Favourite Quote: “Oh, a French braid,” Greta said. “That’s it. And then when she undid them, her hair would still be in ripples, little leftover squiggles, for hours and hours afterward.” “Yes…” “Well,” David said, “that’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”
My Opinion: Anne Tyler is a prolific American author whose books I have been enjoying for over twenty years. Her literary style is appealing and her characters usually feel very relatable, this latest novel is no exception.
‘French Braid’ tells the story the Garrett family over several decades unto and including the recent Covid Pandemic. A short novel considering the period it covers but it works perfectly as she shares with us the highs and lows of family life. With well developed characters the reader feels compassion for the complexities of the emotional ties that both bind and split families. The author has cleverly turned the mundane into a compelling tale of family dynamics.
Highly recommended as parts of this novel will probably resonate with many of us. For that reason alone it is well worth reading.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone determines not to notice.
Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won't allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.
Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts' family life over the decades, whether that's a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.
And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It's the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.
Courtesy of Goodreads
Her interesting profile can be read in full on Wikipedia
Anne Tyler (born October 25, 1941) is an American novelist, short story writer, and literary critic. She has published twenty-four novels, including Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), The Accidental Tourist(1985), and Breathing Lessons (1988). All three were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Breathing Lessons won the prize in 1989. She has also won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, the Ambassador Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2012 she was awarded The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence. Tyler's twentieth novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015, and Redhead By the Side of the Road was longlisted for the same award in 2020. She is recognised for her fully developed characters, her "brilliantly imagined and absolutely accurate detail" her "rigorous and artful style", and her "astute and open language."
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