Friday, September 22, 2006

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

There's always something that makes me sad in Anne Tyler's books. In this one, it was how generally well-intentioned the characters were, but how easily they misunderstood each other. Also how thoughtlessly the characters spoke sometimes. But what I love about Anne Tyler is how true to life her books are, maybe more in this one than in previous novels. The characters aren't quirky and weird, as in many of her other books; they're more subtly complex and ordinary.

It was one of those books where, days after I've finished it, I suddenly wonder, "What's going on with so-and-so?" And I'm sad to discover that the story is done. I don't know what else will happen to so-and-so, because she's not real.

My mom used to want me to write our family history. She thought it could be like an Anne Tyler novel. It probably could be--we'd fit right into her world, except for the Baltimore setting--but I'm not sure we'd be pleased to see ourselves so honestly rendered. Anne Tyler is good at the flawed protagonist.

2 comments:

  1. Very well written. Your comments about Anne Tyler, that is. Your writing makes me feel inferior and that I'm just going to sound stupid if I comment. But I know you like comments so.... Is this a new novel of hers? I love her writing - haven't read this one though. I agree with you ...I don't think I would like to read an honest rendition of myself. I also love Anne Tyler's "flawed protagonist." My favorite was "Patchwork Planet," I think. The narrator was such a loser, but in reality, it was all the "normal" people around him who were losers and he was actually pretty cool.

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  2. Don't be silly, Ivy. My writing's not good, and yours is fine. I am trying to think about what I write, so I don't just keep writing "I like this movie!" and "This book was really good!" or whatever. Yes, this is Anne Tyler's newest novel. It came out in April or May, I think. This one is about two families who adopt baby girls from Korea. One is an older American couple, the other an Iranian couple who've lived in the U.S. for a long time. It was really good. Get it. I think you'll like it. I need to read Patchwork Planet again sometime. One of my favorites is Earthly Possessions, where a woman decides to leave her family, and while she's in line at the bank just before she's going to leave, she gets kidnapped by a bank robber.

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