“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family–their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog–is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler’s hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.
(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Genre: Fiction | Literary, Family Saga, Family Life
Published: February 10, 2015
Format: Kindle, 358 pages
Source: Public Library
“But it was easier, somehow, to reflect on them all from a distance than to be struggling for room in their midst.”
Reading an Anne Tyler book, any Anne Tyler book, is like opening a door and walking into another family’s world. And so it is with A Spool of Blue Thread.
Central to the story is the Whitlatch family. I came to love each one of them with all their inherent quirkiness, idiosyncracies, and eccentricities. Above all, you are drawn to their authenticity. Real people living real lives.
I love this book. Some might say it moves too slowly, but that is often the beauty in Anne Tyler’s books. You have a long visit with the characters she has drawn, the setting she has created, and even the struggles and challenges confronting her characters. Why be in such a rush?
Stay a while. Linger among the pages and stories. In the frantic lifestyles most of us live, this book will transport you to a time and place not rushed or hurried. Even a character who says this about caller ID:
“The thing about caller ID is,” Red said, more or less to himself, “it seems a little like cheating. A person should be willing to take his chances, answering the phone.”
If you have never read an Anne Tyler book, pick one up. Pick up A Spool of Blue Thread. But do not deny yourself the joy of reading her beautiful writing or entering the world of one of her books.