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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.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Clock Dance

Reading a novel by Anne Tyler always soothes me. This story unfolds in chunks, each a distinct stage in Willa Drake's life. She is an unexceptional passive woman who has faced some adversity in her life. Her mother was an erratic and emotional woman who often disappeared for days at a time. Willa married her bossy and hot-tempered college sweetheart, abandoning a promising academic career, only to be left widowed with two sons at the age of 41. She is older now and remarried to Peter, a retired executive who comes across as demanding and disapproving. They have settled into a predictable sort of life in Arizona. Then Willa receives a phone call that Denise, an ex-girlfriend of her son,  is in hospital and her daughter and dog are in need of care. Although Willa has never met Denise she decides to head east to Baltimore to help out. Her involvement with this family gives her a focus and she slips into a comfortable routine. Not much happens. She meets the neighbours, her husband gets impatient with her, Denise's young daughter becomes attached to her, she discovers, to her surprise, that she enjoys a tv show called Space Junk. By the time the story wraps up it appears that Willa is ready to take control of her aimless life. It's all very Anne Tyler-ish and made me feel warm and fuzzy. Tyler writes exquisitely crafted, understated novels and I have enjoyed each and every one I've read. Clock Dance is no exception.

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