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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Monday, April 06, 2015

A Spool Of Blue Thread

A new Anne Tyler book is a gift. A Spool Of Blue Thread is her 20th novel and it is a very special gift indeed. It is an introduction to the Whitshanks, an ordinary family. Abby and Red are growing old. They have four children, two daughters, an adopted boy who is more like a Whitshank than their own black sheep son. Prodigal Denny has been the bane of his parents' existence for most of his life but returns home when he thinks he is needed. Abby is beginning to have memory lapses and neither she nor Red feels ready for a retirement home. The adopted son, Stem also moves back to the family home with his Baptist wife and three sons and Denny and Stem resume their life long competition. The house they live in is another of the book's homey characters, built with love by Red's father, Junior, and loved as if it were a member of the family. We learn the story of how the Whitshanks came to live there and how they will soon live there no more. No more eccentric Whitshanks or the lost souls that Abby brought into the fold through her social work.
No one does families like Anne Tyler. In each novel we come to love the characters, warts and all. This is another of her quiet stories about ordinary people going about their day to day lives, suffering small hardships and heartaches. It's about home and the importance of family and is written with deftness and sympathy.

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