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A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler
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A Patchwork Planet (1998)

by Anne Tyler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Tyler writes so true to life. And her endings are always so real. I will keep spreading out her novels over time for as long as I can. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Hauntingly beautiful - but then Tyler does that so well. I want to journey on with the narration: should Barnaby end up with Sophia-the-crooked-but-straight-but bent or Marline the crooked-but-straight? And is the only angel the one that saves him from his own desires? A book that will stay with me a long time. ( )
  zappa | Aug 21, 2013 |
Barnaby Gaitlin is a loser - a charming, lovable loser, perhaps - but a loser nonetheless. As a teenager, he had a bad habit of breaking into other people's houses. Although, it was never about stealing like it was for his teenage cohorts; Barnaby just liked to read other people's mail, pore over their family photo albums, and appropriate a few of their precious mementos. He had been in trouble ever since adolescence, but now, at just short of thirty years old, he was attempting to get his life in order.

For eleven years, he's been working steadily for Rent-a-Back, renting his back to old folks and shut-ins who need help moving their furniture or bringing Christmas trees down from the attic. At long last, his life seems to be on an even keel.

Still the Gaitlins, of 'old' Baltimore, cannot forget the price they paid for buying off Barnaby's former victims. And his ex-wife would just as soon prefer that he never showed up to visit their little girl, Opal. Overall, Barnaby is still seen by everyone as the black sheep of a philanthropic family - who, instead of attending an Ivy League college and working for his family's charitable foundation - got sent to a reform school for wealthy boys as a teenager, and now works as a manual laborer. A distinct disappointment for the affluent and well-connected Gaitlin family of Baltimore.

Barnaby has spent the majority of his adult life trying to live up to his family's high ideals, failing miserably to fully atone for his teenage sins in their estimation. Eventually, a woman enters Barnaby's life, a woman he views as his guardian angel. Her name is Sophia, and even though she seems to have designs on him, she still doesn't entirely trust him. However, Sophia will ultimately change Barnaby's life in ways no one, least of all Barnaby himself, could ever imagine.

I truly appreciated reading this book. I will admit, the story was sort of humdrum with not much going on in the plot; but in my opinion, the book was certainly well-written and charming. I was thoroughly entertained and give this book an A! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Aug 17, 2013 |
I had this book on my bookshelf for years and just now got around to reading it. I am so glad I did!! It's a "wonderful novel," just like it says on the front cover. I didn't want to put it down. I won't go into the plot since so many reviews do. I'll just say it's worth reading because it tells about loneliness, families, the elderly and kindness. The author beings it all together in a manner that is sometimes sad, sometimes funny. Her characters are memorable, especially her protagonist who sees himself as a failure, but is really a warm-hearted, hard-working, caring man. I highly recommend this novel. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Apr 18, 2013 |
October 2008 selection for COTC Book Club.

A hopeful look at how a life can be recovered from its past. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Tylerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mossel, BabetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
In loving memory of my husband, Taghi Modarressi
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I am a man you can trust, is how my customers view me.
Quotations
Back in Baltimore’s golden age, when the streetcars were still running and downtown was still the place to go and we had four top-notch department stores all on the same one block: Hutzler’s, Hochschild’s, Stewart’s, and Hecht’s... (Rent-A-Back client)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0449003981, Paperback)

Barnaby Gaitlin is one of Anne Tyler's most promising unpromising characters. At 30, he has yet to graduate from college, is already divorced, and is used to defeat. His mother thrives on reminding him of his adolescent delinquency and debt to his family, and even his daughter is fed up with his fecklessness. Still, attuned as he is to "the normal quota for misfortune," Barney is one of the star employees of Baltimore's Rent-a-Back, Inc., which pays him an hourly wage to help old people (and one young agoraphobe) run errands and sort out their basements and attics. Anne Tyler makes you admire most of these mothball eccentrics (though they're far from idealized) and hope that they can stave off nursing homes and death. There is, for example, "the unstoppable little black grandma whose children phoned us on an emergency basis whenever she threatened to overdo." And then there's Barnaby's new girlfriend's aunt, who will eventually accuse him of theft--"Over her forearm she carried a Yorkshire terrier, neatly folded like a waiter's napkin. 'This is my doorbell,' she said, thrusting him toward me. 'I'd never have known you were out here if not for Tatters.'" These people are wonderful creations, but their lives are more brittle than cuddly, Barnaby knows better than to think of them as friends, because they'll only die on him. Yet his job offers at least glimpses of roots and affection. Helping an old lady set up her Christmas tree (on New Year's Eve!) gives him the chance to hang a singular ornament--a snowflake "pancake-sized, slightly crumpled, snipped from gift wrap so old that the Santas were smoking cigarettes." And Barnaby himself is sharp and impatient at painful--and painfully funny--family dinners, apparently unable to keep his finger off the auto-self-destruct button every time his life improves. As much as his superb creator, he is a poet of disappointment, resignation, and minute transformation. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A lovable loser tries to get his life in order. He is Barnaby Gaitlin, 30, the black sheep of a rich Baltimore family, ex-juvenile delinquent who specialized in housebreaking for kicks. He works for Rent-a-Back, moving furniture for old people, and dreams of having a future.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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