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Abschied für Anfänger by Anne Tyler
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Abschied für Anfänger (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Anne Tyler

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8607310,380 (3.68)66
Member:Sabelo
Title:Abschied für Anfänger
Authors:Anne Tyler
Info:Kein & Aber (2012), Ausgabe: 1. Aufl. 2012, Gebundene Ausgabe, 240 Seiten
Collections:Belletristik
Rating:***
Tags:Ehepaar, Tod, Trauer

Work details

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler (2012)

  1. 00
    The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst (LynnB)
    LynnB: Both stories are about a man dealing with his wife's death in ways most people would deem crazy.
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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
I have been an Anne Tyler avid reader since the 80's. I have always enjoyed her ability to writer realistic characters who have moral dilemmas that they somehow manage to transcend, usually in a quirky manner.

With The Beginner's Goodbye, I have to admit that I almost stopped listening (it was, obviously, an audiobook) with the first chapter. Perhaps my willingness was dampened by a review I had read somewhere online or by the attitude of the narrator or the feeling of being disconnected. The feeling, regardless of where it originated, felt as if it would be very difficult to surmount, and, yet, here I am, telling you about a 4 star review.

At some point, perhaps after the first quarter of the book, I felt the story that Anne Tyler might be telling. Her hero was not likeable in the way that previous heroes had been. In fact, it wasn't until the last couple of chapters that I could find anything within him/myself-reacting-to-him, that I might call likeable.

In many ways, this book was like peeling an onion. There were so many layers and so many truths that you had to wade/peel through to get to what was real/true.

I was satisfied with the ending, even if, for a moment, it seemed as if Tyler might verge onto an unanticipated path, but she didn't. Perhaps I have read enough of her books to know where this outcome might go, and she didn't disappoint me here.

This is not an outstanding Tyler effort, but it is good. You just need to get several chapters in. And this is why I frown when people say they will only give a book 20 pages. I think they have a low tolerance level. Sometimes you have to wait for the good stuff. ( )
  SaschaD | Apr 28, 2016 |
Anne Tyler's writing is so smooth and effortless. This would be a good in-between book, sandwiched by challenging or lengthy or exhilarating reads. It helps to recalibrate some internal reading set point.
This reminded me a lot of [b:The Accidental Tourist|60792|The Accidental Tourist|Anne Tyler|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327936319s/60792.jpg|1070136]. The same type of male character, similar circumstance, even involved with a very practical kind of publishing venture. Watch the effects of nature's healing with time, with family, with love, blah de blah. Same sort of predictable formula, a bit mawkish, but nonetheless a simple comfort read. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Aaron Woolcott works for a family-owned vanity press whose flagship series is a "Dummies"-like line called The Beginner's Guides. When his wife Dorothy dies, he is, of course, overcome with grief. Dorothy was a doctor, gruff and prickly and not very nurturing. That worked well for Aaron, who by nature prefers keeping people at a distance. He becomes adept at avoiding his friends and colleagues who try to support him as he mourns. He doesn't want or need their involvement, especially not after Dorothy returns from the dead.

I found this book very moving. I loved the portrait of Dorothy, with her simple clothes, her lack of interest in housecleaning, and her signature scent of rubbing alcohol and Ivory soap. Yes, I identified with her. As the story unfolds, we learn about the misunderstandings and unhappiness in the marriage, and we remember that every ghost story we've ever read tells us that a returning spirit has "unfinished business." ( )
  CasualFriday | Mar 27, 2016 |
In The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler, Aaron, a 36-year-old editor for his family owned small vanity press in Baltimore, loses his wife in a tragic accident that almost destroys their home. Aaron, who has a crippled right arm and leg, ends up moving in with his overprotective sister while the house is being repaired. After some time passes, he begins to experience visits from his dead wife, Dorothy.

Through the visits from Dorothy, Aaron reflects on their life together and the difficulties they had, even while they loved each other. What I appreciated about Aaron is that he is a very real, flawed, complex character who struggles to find happiness even while he remembers small details about his courtship and marriage to Dorothy that aren't all picturing an idyllic marriage.

Anne Tyler is wonderful and The Beginner's Goodbye just reinforces my opinion of her writing. This isn't a heavy, depressing book. Oh, there are sad, moving parts, but it feels charming, humorous, and introspective as Aaron narrates his navigation through the stages of grief and comes to terms with his life.

While this is a much shorter novel than I would generally expect from Tyler, it is an incredible character study as Aaron works through his emotions and comes to some conclusions about himself and his marriage.

Very Highly Recommended - one of the best
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/


( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
I remember the first time I saw a "Dummies" book. The concept seemed genius. Take an area of learning that was likely to be difficult or completely foreign for the average Joe and make it accessible and basic enough to be graspable; make it easy to learn. If I recall correctly, the books started out as a way into the new and exciting word of computer related things but because of their popularity, the success of their concept, and their immediate brand recognition, they quickly became ubiquitous as the entry level way into a whole variety of specialized areas, both technical and non-technical. And while they may seem less necessary now in a world of You Tube videos and other online tutorials, they served a real and previously untapped purpose when they came out. With them, you could learn to program a computer or build a container garden. You could learn everything you ever wanted to know about NASCAR or about anger management. They run the gamut from A to Z. Their scope was, and is, both practical and personal. But above and beyond whatever they purported to teach, there was a wealth of story in their existence. Why would someone need to consult them? What result will they lead the reader to in their pages? How will this new skill change the reader's life? In Anne Tyler's elegant novel The Beginner's Goodbye, she uses not Dummies Guides but their fictional counterpart, Beginner's Guides, to illuminate a life, a marriage, and grief.

Aaron Woolcott is a new widower. He uses his grief to hold himself aloof from others around him, including his sister Nandina. When he was a child, he suffered an illness that left him mildly disabled and he has long used his disability and frustration with what he sees as people's solicitude towards him to justify his unpleasant, often anti-social behaviour. When the novel opens, Aaron is devastated by his wife's untimely and unexpected death but it changes his curmudgeonly and prickly personality not at all. He is as unable or unwilling to accept kindness or help after Dorothy's death as he was before it. He intentionally keeps everyone at arm's length, believing that only the deceased Dorothy, practical, unfussy, and frumpy understood him. When he starts seeing her ghost, he is unsurprised by her reappearance but it prompts him to reexamine the life they lived. And it turns out that what he remembers may not be the way she saw it.

As Aaron comes to terms with his crippling loss, his sister and his co-workers at the family owned vanity press where he works at (they publish the Beginner's Guides to all sorts of things) try to offer him kindness and caring when all he wants is the space to be surly and bitter. Early on in the novel, his character comes across as distant and determined to be a martyr but he has to learn that while the grief is real and forever, the living must indeed go on living. There is no guide to get him through this terrible time in his life and Aaron chooses to stay at an emotional remove from everyone thinking that no one else can understand or appreciate the magnitude of his wrenching loss. This sort of clinical distance does keep the reader from finding Aaron an altogether appealing character, especially as his actions prove him to be rather a jerk and he starts to remember and reveal more about his marriage and his and Dorothy's roles in it. But because this is Anne Tyler, and because she's a gorgeous writer, you can't help but keep reading, wanting to know how Aaron will, in the end, learn to say goodbye to someone he might never have seen clearly in the first place, how he will go on with his life, and how he will change. The writing is spare and slow but the slow pacing serves the plot well and given the book's short length, the reader appreciates the chance to savor her time in the story. Tyler beautifully captures the loneliness and paralyzing inactivity, that fog that envelops a person after such a big loss. That she does it so well with Aaron, wounded in so many ways and not always sympathetic, is a testament to her skill here. This is an examination of life and death, perspective and change. It is quirky and wonderful. ( )
  whitreidtan | Mar 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Embarking on an Anne Tyler novel is like heading off on vacation to a favorite destination: You're filled with anticipation of pleasure, even though you know the place is likely to have changed since your last visit.

The Beginner's Goodbye, Tyler's 19th novel, fulfills that dual craving for familiarity and freshness. Its focus is loss and recovery, grief and growth....
 
This is not a dramatic transformation but a slow, hard-won realisation that comes with time and constant picking-over the same problem. For the essentially optimistic Tyler, this process allows for rejuvenation and the opportunity for a second chance. For Tyler's many fans, her latest work won't disappoint.
 
The Beginner's Goodbye," Tyler's 19th novel, features all of these things and more — there is a ghost — and less; just over 200 pages, it is, both in literal weight and narrative complexity, lighter than most of the Tyler canon. Which should not be construed as "less," at least not in the pejorative sense of the word. In many ways, "Goodbye" feels like the center slice of an Anne Tyler novel, a distillation.... The wonder of Anne Tyler is how consistently clear-eyed and truthful she remains about the nature of families and especially marriage.
 
All of this Tyler understands, tackling Aaron’s sudden loss with characteristic warmth, sympathy and wisdom. As in all her books – and this is one of her great strengths – male and female characters are equally well drawn.

Perhaps the chief constituent of grief is regret: regret for the unkind word, the unexpressed affection, the small opportunities missed. To say that Tyler writes about regret would be like saying that Anton Chekhov writes about boredom: true, but inadequate. Without melodrama but always with compassion, as well as outstanding insight and gentle humour, regret is the abiding theme of her fiction. This makes her especially popular with readers over the age of 35, who are old enough to have started accumulating regrets of their own.
 
Ms. Tyler’s tepid new novel, “The Beginner’s Goodbye,” doggedly follows this formula, adding a supernatural twist seemingly borrowed from old movies like “Topper” or “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”...The problem is that the reader couldn’t care less. Whereas Ms. Tyler’s most powerful work has been animated by an intimate knowledge of her characters’ inner lives — sympathy that lofted us up over whatever was clichéd or cloying about their stories — the people in “The Beginner’s Goodbye” are irritating stick figures, insipid and emotionally uptight. .....As the title of “The Beginner’s Goodbye” suggests, Dorothy’s spectral visits are supposed to help Aaron learn to come to terms with her death — and with the imperfections of their marriage — so that he might move on with his life. It’s a trite and predictable lesson from what is arguably this talented author’s tritest and most predictable novel.
 
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The strangest thing about my wife's return from the dead was how other people reacted.
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En wat zou ze hebben gelachen om al die ovenschotels! Dat was een van de ergste dingen als je je vrouw verloor, merkte ik: je vrouw is nu net degene met wie je dat allemaal wilt bespreken.
En toch kreeg ik nog maar twee avonden later zo'n droomachtige gedachte die langsdrijft als je net in slaap valt. Hé, Dorothy heeft al een poosje niet meer gebeld, dacht ik.
Toen we pas getrouwd waren belde ze me vaak vanuit haar praktijk, zomaar om even te kletsen en te horen hoe het met mijn werk ging. Dus de wittebroodsweken waren blijkbaar afhelopen. Heel even vond ik dat jammer, al wist ik dat het de normale gang van zaken was.
Maar toen werd ik opeens klaarwakker en dacht: o. Ze is dood. En het was nog niets gemakkelijker dan in het allereerste begin. Ik kan dit niet, dacht ik. Ik zou niet weten hoe. Hier geven ze geen cursussen voor. Dit heb ik nooit geleerd. Eigenlijk was ik nog geen stap verder
That was one of the worst things about losing your wife, I found: your wife is the very person you want to discuss it all with.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307957276, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: "The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted." So begins Anne Tyler's new novel, which documents the days of Aaron Woolcott after the unexpected loss of his wife, Dorothy. And as arresting as the first sentence is, it's also a bit worrying. So many clichés could follow. Will Aaron resolve his grief through poetic moonlit walks with the apparition of his lost wife? Thankfully, this is Anne Tyler. And the ghost of Dorothy, like all Tyler's characters, has a kind of rich, eccentric depth that sits opposite to the expected. Aaron's recovery after his wife's death conveys all the subtle hallmarks of Tyler's style, where a flawed man must learn how to do a very difficult thing--say a final goodbye. --Ben Moebius

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:03 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances-- in their house, on the roadway, in the markets ... Only Dorothy's unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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