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How does a man addicted to routine - a man who flosses his teeth before love-making - cope with the chaos of everyday life? With the loss of his son, the departure of his wife and the arrival of Muriel, a dog trainer from the Meow-Bow dog clinic, Macon's attempts at ordinary life are tragically and comically undone.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099480013
ISBN-10: 0099480018
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 25mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » How do "impossible" couples evolve? In this most recent, luminous novel by Tyler, a "fairly chilly" man, muffled in loneliness, learns that a man and a woman can come together "for reasons the rest of the world would never guess." One can leave the principality of self to tour another's - to love "the surprise of her. . .the surprise of himself when he was with her." Macon Leary, married to Sarah, is an author of travel books for businessmen whose "concern was how to pretend they had never left home" - who want safe and comforting accommodations and food, who want to travel "without a jolt." Macon and Sarah, devastated by the senseless murder of their 12-year-old son in a fast-food shop holdup, are about to part. Sarah will leave this man that she claims remains "unchanged," who refuses to argue with the knowledge that the world is vile. Immobilized by a broken leg (was that accident an unconscious wish?), Macon will settle in with the family he started with - two brothers (one divorced) and sister Rose - in ultimate safety, where like plump, brooding fowl, the four deliberate in soothing converse, rearrange the straws of domesticity, Enter the "impossible" Muriel Pritchett, shrill as a macaw, single mother of a pale, wretched young boy, scrabbling for a living at various jobs, and existing messily on a cacophonous Baltimore street. Muriel has arrived at the Leary compound to whip into line Edward, Macon's pugnacious Welsh corgi who's fond of treeing bicyclists and family members. Muriel cows Edward while talking nonstop, and gradually Macon will find himself in "another country" of noise and color, where red slippers with feathers are necessary accessories to a woman in the morning. From a perspective where Macon feels he's a "vast distance from everyone who mattered" and a marriage where he and his wife seem to have "used each other up," Macon will find in foreignness his own "soft heart." Again in Tyler's tender, quiet prose, a delicate sounding of the odd and accidental incursions of the heart. Tone-perfect, and probably her best to date. (Kirkus Reviews)

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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

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Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

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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