Friday, March 20, 2015

'A Spool of Blue Thread' by Anne Tyler

20 March 2015

Anne Tyler has said her latest novel, 'A Spool of Blue Thread', might be her last. That would be a great shame as she is still at the height of her powers. 'A Spool of Blue Thread', which I have just finished reading (as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Kimberly Farr), is an amazing book. It is the story of a family, and the story of a house, with the narrative flitting forwards and backwards in time to create a thoroughly rounded picture of the Whitshanks and their family home on Bouton Road in Baltimore. Anne Tyler's writing appears clear and simple – it lacks the elegant flourishes of Marilynne Robinson's prose (reviewed here in February 2015) – but goes much deeper than you first realise, building an incredibly powerful emotional connection with the characters. 'A Spool of Blue Thread' is full of domestic scenes where little seems to be happening but enormous currents swell beneath the trivial everyday tasks. This is a mature Anne Tyler novel, without some of the quirkiness of her earlier books, more melancholy and serious. We really feel the family's joy and grief. It's gentle, subtle, impressive and moving. More please, Anne.



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