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One morning, Rebecca wakes up and realises she has turned into the wrong person. Is she really this joyous and outgoing organiser of parties, the put-upon heart of her dead husband's extended family? What happened to her quiet and serious nineteen-year-old self, and what would have happened if she'd married her college sweetheart? Can someone ever recover the person they've left behind?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099422549
ISBN-10: 0099422549
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » Tyler has made the interior landscape of contemporary domestic Baltimore absolutely her own. This, her 15th novel centres around Rebecca, and its opening sentence crystallizes its central preoccupation, a common Tylerian one: 'Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person'. Rebecca is fifty-three, a widow for many years, and the matriarch of a sprawling family of children, in-laws, cousins, all largely the legacy of her marriage. Suddenly she finds herself wondering what would have happened had she married her childhood sweetheart, Will, instead of the older man who'd swept her off her feet, married her, and shortly afterwards died. She re-examines the view others have of her as gregarious, happy, sociable and wonders if she hasn't by accident fallen into someone else's life, wonders whether it isn't too late to try out the other path. She even goes so far as to contact Will and initiate a relationship before realising, as her uncle-in-law says, ' Your true life is the one you end up with, whatever it may be'. She has indeed grown into the life she is leading. Most of the scenes in the book centre around celebrations, whether those of Rebecca's family or the ones that take place in her house, hired by strangers for the occasion. It's a messy, sprawling existence punctuated by drama and crisis, and occasionally the sheer number of characters and their individual dilemmas can feel as overwhelming to the reader as they appear to be for Rebecca. But it's a novel of great compassion, quiet wisdom and, for many perhaps, a central dilemma that touches a nerve. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Anne Tyler

Born in Minneapolis in 1941, Anne Tyler lives in Baltimore where her novels are set. She is the Pulitzer-prize winning author of Breathing Lessons and other bestselling novels, including The Accidental Tourist, Saint Maybe, Back When We Were Grownups, The Amateur Marriage, Digging to America and Noah's Compass. She has recently received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, which recognises a lifetime's achievement in books.

Books By Author Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl

Paperback / softback, March 2017
Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread

Paperback / softback, April 2016
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

Paperback, May 2013
Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's Goodbye

Paperback / softback, January 2013