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Digging to America by Anne Tyler
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Digging to America (2006)

by Anne Tyler

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2,8761102,009 (3.61)199
  1. 00
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (terran)
    terran: While reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, I kept remembering the interracial romance in Digging to America. The Major is the ultimate in Britishness, while the Donaldsons are the quintessential American couple.
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» See also 199 mentions

English (102)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
I was glad to read another Anne Tyler after many years. I got the suggestion from whichbook.net. Again they had it only partly right with their recommendation. This book had very engaging characters. It wasn't as funny as I had thought it would be. It was charming though. I enjoyed it more than the last Anne Tyler I read. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
My 11 year old started this book and said that the language was simple, like a kid’s book, and that she really liked it. I haven’t read Tyler for a long while, but have always liked her, and I was curious about my daughter’s reaction. The vocabulary isn’t simple, but Tyler seldom uses figurative language. This is a highly episodic book that begins with the adoption of two Korean infants by very different families: one a granola eating middle-aged American family, the other by first generation young Iranian-Americans. It’s a subject close to my heart, but the novel is really about the two families’ initial antipathy and subsequent friendship. Adoption is in the background (and Tyler made the occasional factual error about the process). The real story is about integration, exile, belonging as it unfolds in the relationship between the newly widowed grandfather on one side, and the long time widowed grandmother on the other. My daughter enjoyed the detailed realism and independence of each scene; a stand-alone slice of life in her eyes. I enjoyed some of the parenting scenes (the one about trying to make a toddler give up her pacifier made me laugh out loud), but most of all the elder love story. I don’t think this is Tyler’s best. It is a fast read and reads like a fast write. But a book that I can enjoy as an adult and which my daughter enjoys as a kid is rare. No violence here, either, which was a nice break. ( )
  liliannattel | Feb 6, 2014 |
A quick read. A couple of characters reminded me of myself and Tyler shrewdly shows how a person who takes themselves a tad too seriously comes off to others. Made me think.... ( )
  Mortybanks | May 20, 2013 |
Two families meet at the airport when they collect their adopted daughter arriving from Korea. One family (originally from Iran) try to keep up with the other (typical American). Understanding the others culture and they way they choose to bring up their children is sometimes a challenge.

Easy reading and entertaining. No huge climax – a story of family relationships and bringing up children. ( )
  dalzan | Apr 21, 2013 |
288 pages of absolutely no story, boring characters and just poor writing. The emphasis of this novel is on subtlety, if by that you mean that nothing actually happens then yes, that would be an accurate description.
Seriously, I finished each chapter and thought to myself: "so what actually happened there?" And the answer is nothing. This is a very boring book, I wasted a painful few weeks of my life trying to drag myself through it, I have to finish a book once I start it but I very nearly gave up with this one.
There are no interesting characters, not one I can feel any kind of endearing emotion towards... I always try to find something good to say about a novel, even the ones I really didn't like, but I can't think of anything good to say about this. I hated it. ( )
  emleemay | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
in "Digging to America," Tyler's characters face the future, not the past, so she doesn't let the freight of personal history freeze their forward motion, although it sometimes slows them down.
 
All these parties provide Tyler with the set pieces at which she so excels - although after the third or fourth farcical arrival ceremonies, the reader begins to tire of them as much as some of the family members. This also contributes to the sense in some of Tyler's more recent fiction that the parts, deliciously funny and sharply observed, are more satisfying than the whole.
added by lkernagh | editThe Guardian, Lisa Allardice (May 20, 2006)
 
There is so much truth here, as Tyler strips away the issue of ethnic difference to reach the heart of her complex and compelling matter.
 
Point of view is passed on from chapter to chapter in a subtle dance. This is beautifully done, but the effect of multiple viewpoints is to muffle the distinctiveness of the first.
 
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At eight o'clock in the evening, the Baltimore airport was nearly deserted.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307263940, Hardcover)

In what is perhaps her richest and most deeply searching novel, Anne Tyler gives us a story about what it is to be an American, and about Maryam Yazdan, who after
Thirty-five years in this country must finally come to terms with her “outsiderness.”

Two families, who would otherwise never have come together, meet by chance at the Baltimore airport—the Donaldsons, a very American couple, and the Yazdans, Maryam’s fully assimilated son and his attractive Iranian American wife. Each couple is awaiting the arrival of an adopted infant daughter from Korea. After the babies from distant Asia are delivered, Bitsy Donaldson impulsively invites the Yazdans to celebrate with an “arrival party,” an event that is repeated every year as the two families become more deeply intertwined.

Even independent-minded Maryam is drawn in. But only up to a point. When she finds herself being courted by one of the Donaldson clan, a good-hearted man of her vintage, recently widowed and still recovering from his wife’s death, suddenly all the values she cherishes—her traditions, her privacy, her otherness—are threatened. Somehow this big American takes up so much space that the orderly boundaries of her life feel invaded.

A luminous novel brimming with subtle, funny, and tender observations that cast a penetrating light on the American way as seen from two perspectives, those who are born here and those who are still struggling to fit in.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Two families awaiting the arrival of their adopted infant daughters from Korea meet at the airport. The families lives become interwined after the Donaldsons, a young American couple invite the Yazdan's, Maryam, her son and his Iranian American wife to an arrival party, which becomes an annual event. Maryam, who came to this country thirty-five years earlier, feels her values threatened when she is courted by a newly widowed Donaldson. A penetrating light on the American way as seen from two perspectives, those who are born here and those who are still struggling to fit in.… (more)

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