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Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler

Searching for Caleb (1975)

by Anne Tyler

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6961013,671 (3.77)10



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Classic Anne Tyler: memorable characters, absorbing plot...in a word, awesome. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
A friend gave me a Anne Tyler omnibus that included Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons and Searching for Caleb. Searching for Caleb, the last novel in the book, was my least favorite of the three. Tyler is a gifted writer with a clean style, writing with humor and insight, and features characters that are rounded, real and very strikingly individual, from minor secondary characters to the major ones, like Daniel, and his grandchildren, cousins married to each other, Duncan and Justine Peck.

Daniel is an old-fashioned gentleman who last saw his brother Caleb sixty years ago in 1912. He periodically goes on trips with Justine searching for his brother, and you get the feeling the journey is more important than the goal for both. Daniel is the most appealing character in the book, despite his at times strict and stiff ways. Justine and Duncan, on the other hand, I didn't care for much--which may be why this book dragged for me. Justine "endures" and "adapts," and puts up with far too much from Duncan--and Duncan is hard to take. He's not abusive--he's just completely thoughtless, flaky, flighty and feckless. Growing bored just when it seems he might succeed at a new endeavor, he sabotages himself, then uproots his wife and daughter to a new town. At times I found I hated him with the heat of a thousand suns, and I found the entire cycle repeated in the book depressing. It seemed the farther I got into the book, the slower, tougher going I found each page. If this weren't a relatively short novel, I probably would have given up--but having gotten two-thirds through, I grimly pushed through.

The last two pages made it--almost--worth it. But not quite. I can't say I recommend it to anyone but a diehard Tyler fan. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | May 8, 2011 |
Amateur fortune teller Justine Peck is a typically quirky and interesting Anne Tyler heroine. I found myself rooting for her despite her slightly unseemly marriage to her cousin Duncan, a feckless drifter who subjects his family to a rootless, uncertain existence in a succession of small towns. I was more interested by Justine's efforts to help her grandfather Daniel locate his long-disappeared brother, which offer moments of both humour and pathos. An enjoyable read. ( )
  whirled | Jan 18, 2011 |
Tyler's writing is always excellent, but this wasn't all that satisfying story-wise. ( )
  mhgatti | Jan 12, 2011 |
excellent ( )
  fross | Jan 6, 2011 |
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The fortune teller and her grandfather went to New York City on an Amtrack train, racketing along with their identical, peaky white faces set due north.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911748, Paperback)

"Magic and true, dazzling and wise...It has an astounding confidence, depth and range...A wonderful, wonderful novel."


Duncan Peck has a fascination for randomness and is always taking his family on the move. His wife, Justine, is a fortune teller who can't remember the past. Her grandfather, Daniel, longs to find the brother who walked out of his life in 1912, with nothing more than a fiddle in his hand. All three are taking journeys that lead back to the family's deepest roots...to a place where rebellion and acceptance have the haunting power to merge into one....

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The lives and secrets of four generations of the Peck family of Roland Park intertwine as forty-year-old fortune teller Justine accompanies her deaf, ex-judge grandfather in search of his maverick half-brother Caleb, who vanished in the spring of 1912.… (more)

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