The story of the marriage of Michael and Pauline, a mismatched couple if their ever was one. The main dramatic event in their marriage is the disappearance of their eldest daughter in the sixties, but that is jumping ahead rather. Michael Anton is of Polish descent and works in the family grocery business, his world changes when Pauline Barclay walks into the store in December 1941. To Michael she is from an exotic world and he finds himself irrevocably drawn to her even making the patriotic or was it romantic gesture of joining the armed forces because of her influence on him. Their marriage becomes somehow inevitable.when before his training is even completed he gets wounded so badly that he is invalided out.
Pauline believed that marriage was an interweaving of souls, while Michael viewed it as two people traveling side by side but separately. Two such different opinions of course lead to resentments but somehow they stay together. The birth of three children, a move to the suburbs, all normal life events for many but then their daughter disappears, a catalyst for the cracks to deepen.
Each chapter of the book leaps ahead in time to different stages of their marriage with changes having taken place that you have not actually read about, but somehow this does not spoil the narrative. In fact for me it helped make it more readable, otherwise it may have been a rather long winded marriage tale!
Anne Tyler’s characters despite their idiosyncrasies seem very feasible and familiar to me. I have not read that many of her books but I found the previous ones interesting for the same reasons. Back When We Were Grownups and Digging to America.
If you are a fan of Anne Tyler you have probably also already read this one, I am somewhat behind. If you are new to her work, I think it is a good introduction to her writing.
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University
Author photo and biographical information courtesy of authors Goodreads Profile.
I have chosen to read this title as the letter A for this challenge which I have decided to attempt, for now anyway, to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from on our bookshelves so will see how it goes. You can follow my progress here.