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Through every family run memories which bind it together - despite everything. The Tulls of Baltimore are no exception. Abandoned by her salesman husband, Pearl is left to bring up her three children alone - Cody, a flawed devil, Ezra, a flawed saint, and Jenny, errant and passionate. Now as Pearl lies dying, stiffly encased in her pride and solitude, the past is unlocked and with it, secrets.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099916406
ISBN-10: 0099916401
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Another of Tyler's family portraits: again she draws forth that elusive aura of redemptive family unity - despite snapped loyalties, devastating loneliness, and the conflicts between those who hit life hard and those who "live life at a slant." Ezra Tull - one of Tyler's gentle, bumbling men - is, unlike his meddlesome, reproachful mother Pearl, a "feeder." And at his "Homesick Restaurant," an untidy establishment where he'll solicitously "cook what other people felt homesick for," Ezra sometimes hopefully sets a table for family occasions. But "the family as a whole never yet finished one of his dinners - it was as if what they couldn't get right they had to keep returning to." The family, you see, has never been "right" since that day years before when Pearl's husband Beck left them for good: overburdened with the raising of three young children, lonely and friendless, Pearl became an angry sort of mother to them all, raising them each with a "trademark flaw." Older brother Cody is handsome, bland, a prankster who hides the unloved rage of an unfavorite son - and this drives him to steal Ezra's fiancee Ruth for his own wife. Sister Jenny, deserted by her second husband, given to child abuse, hurt and overworked, is rescued by the family. Gentle Ezra is stuck with mother Pearl - though he comes to see "her true interior self, still enormous, larger than life, powerful. Overwhelming." And when Cody's teenage son Luke hitchhikes, on the crest of one of Cody's pristine rages, from the Virginia home to Ezra in Baltimore, he too is inundated with family miseries. Finally, then, Pearl dies and the family will gather again at the restaurant. But this time they'll be joined by the near-mythical old Beck Tull: can he now ever be part of the family? Well, perhaps - because a life's anger seems to drain as Cody sees all his family "opening like a fan," drawing him in - and Beck, an old man who could not, long ago, take the "tangles" of family, will stay "until the dessert wine." Less magical, perhaps, than other Tylers - but her vision of saving interdependencies and time's witchiness continues to tease and enchant. (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.

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