A spool of blue thread / Anne Tyler.
Publication year: 2015
Publisher: London : Vintage,
ISBN: 9780099598480 (pbk.) :
Originally published: London: Chatto & Windus.
'It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon'. This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere - the essential nature of family life.
465 pages ; 20 cm
All the members of the group enjoyed this book - a rare occurrence! If you like plot-driven books, this is not the one for you. It's a tale of four generations of a Baltimore family and a house so cherished that it feels like another family member. This is not the Baltimore of "The Wire" but a neighbourhood where one's social origins can be given away by small details like the colour of a porch swing. Much of the book consists of dialogue, which always feels natural. The characters are well drawn, particularly the women, though the point was made that perhaps they were a little cliched: the child who's an outsider, the child who's the successful one, etc. Several themes run through the book: children's fears over ageing parents; parents who don't want to accept that they are ageing; the inability of the young to remember that the old were young and exciting once; homosexuality; social class; secrets that come to light when someone passes on...... A holiday read, not in a pejorative sen
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