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The Clock Winder by Anne Tyler

The Clock Winder (1972)

by Anne Tyler

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7221713,019 (3.54)1 / 62



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I feel like the main character seemed fairly autistic, but the author didn't mean for it to be that way. On the whole, this was well written in some ways, but I just couldn't get into the plot line, didn't find it or character motivation believable. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
Great character development; likable people in real settings that the reader can empathize with. Not her best book, but still an enjoyable read! ( )
  JosephKing6602 | May 10, 2016 |
My first foray into Anne Tyler's books was [Digging to America], which I gave a very generous 2 stars, and promptly decided to never read another Anne Tyler book. Thanks to a certain warbler's author challenge, I decided to give Tyler one more chance. I scoured the local library's offerings and did not like any of the story summaries until I stumbled across the one for [The Clock Winder], which gave me a fleeting nostalgic reminder of another quirky family story I had read years ago, the author and title of that story alludes me at the moment. Dysfunctional families make for wonderful storytelling, provided one doesn't go overboard or leave the reading hanging half off of cliff of expectation. Tyler has created a somewhat believable family in the Emersons - although I have to admit that Andrew is one character that seems like a random wildcard thrown in to the mix of otherwise more-or-less normal family members. I felt more of a connection with Mrs. Emerson than with Elizabeth... Elizabeth as a character did strike me as too secretive (Tyler chooses to allow Elizabeth to remain a bit of an enigma) and the ending was one of those "Say what?" moments but for the most part I was intrigued by the interaction of the various characters. As one reviewer here on LT put it, "The Clock Winder is what happens when people make lasting impressions." Favorite quote from the book: "Maybe they're right," he said. "You shouldn't hope for anything from someone that much different from your family."
"You should if your family doesn't have it," said Gillespie.Overall, I am glad to have had the opportunity to give Tyler another chance, even if a number of Anne Tyler fans feels that this is one of her poorer works. For me, it is a rough diamond that with some polish, could be quite a gem. ( )
  lkernagh | Jan 25, 2016 |
Twenty-three year old Elizabeth is a drifter who is happy wandering from town to town picking up whatever work she can for however long she manages to keep each job. She stumbles into a job as a handyman for Mrs. Emerson, an elderly widow. Mrs. Emerson’s seven children rarely visit her, and each member of the family is deeply flawed in some way or another. Elizabeth fits in well to the Emerson household until she realizes that the family is becoming too dependent on her. Since she hates being tied down that way, she leaves, but she can’t seem to get rid of the Emersons no matter how hard she tries.

Anne Tyler is one of my favorite authors, but since this is one of her earlier novels, I was expecting less, and that’s what I got. You can definitely see how she evolved from this one, but it has flaws. The point of view jumps around too much from one character to another. For example, the final chapter was written from the youngest son’s point of view, and he was hardly mentioned in the rest of the book. Also, some chapters jumped several years into the future, and the transitions weren’t as smooth as I would have liked. My biggest problem with this book, however, is personal preference. It just didn’t end the way I wanted it to, and I could see it wasn’t going to by halfway through the book. The fact that the last chapter switched points of view and jumped five years into the future made an already bad ending worse because Tyler showed us how things ended but didn’t give us any explanation of why things ended the way they did. The character development was a high point for me, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the ending.
( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Terrible American accents and narrator too manic! ( )
  Carolinejyoung | Aug 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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The house had outlived its usefulness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911799, Paperback)

Mrs. Pamela Evans lives a lonely new widowhood outside of Baltimore, with only a house full of ticking clocks for company. Then she hires eccentric Elizabeth Abbott as a handyman and both discover that parts don't have to be a perfect match to work.

"Anne Tyler is a magical writer."


From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:26:19 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Having sacked her handyman, newly-widowed Mrs Emerson finds a replacement in Elizabeth, a lanky, awkward girl. The Emersons have a reputation for craziness, there are seven adult children, and Elizabeth finds herself drawn into their disorderly lives against her will. But in the end it is hard to tell whether she is a victim of the needy Emersons, or the de facto ruler of the family.… (more)

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Average: (3.54)
1 3
2 15
2.5 5
3 47
3.5 13
4 51
4.5 3
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