The lives of four generations of Whitshanks unfold in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.
❍ “Though this is Tyler’s 20th (and apparently her last) novel, it’s the first of hers I’ve read. And it is apparent she’s had considerable experience in perfecting story telling around the family dynamic. Rather than using exaggerated plot lines and melodramatic characters, Tyler surprises and intrigues the reader with subtly and nuances in this realist story. It’s as if it’s your own family you are reading about, such is the emotional pull for the characters. There is much talent and complexity in producing such simplicity.” – Rachel
❍ “When I think about the cliches of the classic American novel, A Spool of Blue Thread has all its bases covered – generational family dramas, check. Blatant racism, check. Kindly and enlightened white woman on the coloured folks’ side, check. Big porch and swing! Check! I could go on….
I have no idea how Anne Tyler has done it but this novel manages to incorporate all of these tired old ideas into a fresh and rather lovely story that had me nodding alongside the character’s when they had their own moments of realisation and growth. Class is an issue that is addressed many times in English novels and it was interesting to read about this from an American perspective.
Some novels, when they are mired with controversy and arguments, can leave me feeling almost exhausted and I am pleased to get a break from the pettiness and drama when I put the book down. Anne Tyler’s book had the opposite effect. I cared deeply about the characters and at times felt more invested in the resolution of their issues than they were. Like I said, a lovely story.” – Suzy