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Digging to America (2006)

by Anne Tyler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,4861373,096 (3.62)238
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)
  1. 20
    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 238 mentions

English (128)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
Anne Tyler, the queen of quirky but loveable, has done it again. She reaches into the heart of people who seem so different than ourselves, and reveals them to be just like us. Why is it that when we feel insecure (or like we aren’t like other people or that everyone has the key but us), we can’t look around and see that everyone else feels the same way? We are just people trying to find our way through whatever life or circumstances we find ourselves in.

The story centers around two families, each of whom adopt a Korean child on the same day. The children bind the families together, despite the obvious differences between them. One family is abjectly American, the other Iranian. Maryam, the Iranian grandmother, feels like an outsider, even after thirty-five years of being an American.

You start to believe that your life is defined by your foreignness. You think everything would be different if only you belonged.’If only I were back home,’ you say, ‘and you forget that you wouldn’t belong there either, after all these years. It wouldn’t be home at all anymore.’

I have only been transplanted from one state to another, but I know this feeling well. I have also lived away for thirty-five years, and I often think about going “home” and wonder where home would be. Places change, people change, perhaps if we do not carry home around with us, we lose it.

The book is full of such moments and thoughts that feel real to me. And these people feel real to me...they like one another in spite of all the reasons there are not to like one another. Without noticing, they come to love one another. They are complicated, flawed and human, they make us laugh, shake our heads, and then cry. Nothing happens that is spectacular, but then isn’t that true of life? Most of our most significant living is done in very ordinary ways.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Anne Tyler descrive magnificamente i suoi personaggi e le incomprensioni tra americani/immigrati, donne/uomini. Bellissimo il rapporto tra i due nonni David e Maryam, fa sognare. ( )
  Lillymao | Aug 4, 2022 |
Readers who desire a well defined and intricate plot wil be disappointed by any book that Anne Taylor writes. But if you are like me and love well developed characters facing the problems of life, then she is your author.

Two families are at an airport waiting for the arrival of two Korean infants that they have adopted. One family is American, the Donaldson and the other is Iranian-American, the Yasdans. We meet the parents, maternal grandparents on the Donaldson side plus the adoptte Jin Ho and the parents, paternal grandmother Maryam and adoptee who was renamed Susan.

Bitsy Donaldson knew that the Yasdans were at the airport at the same time as the Yasdans and she decided to make a tradition of the two families meeting for an "arrival" party for the adoptees. That began a long inrerconnected relationship through the years.

Bitsy is demanding, her mother has cancer and is more piiable. Bitsty's father is adoring or his eife and very loving. Mayam Yasdn's grandmother fled Iran with an arranged marrige to an Iranina who lived in United States. Maryam is my favorite character. She scared her famiy by beibg so independent. They had to get her married and away before she put her whole family in jeopardy. Maryam feels that she is an outsider not belonging to either country. Not feeling close to her son in values, she becomes admiring and closer to her daugher-in-law, Ziba.

There are cultural differences and alliances between the two families. My husband views himself as outsider too. I thnk this must a common situation wth first generation immigrants. And he also thinks that American born Chinese do not share his values. Besides like Maryam's character the most, I think that this book has given me a better understanding of my husband. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jun 6, 2022 |
This novel depicts two families who both adopted a Korean baby girl in the year 1997. Their girls were delivered to from Korea to the U.S. on the same day by the same flight, so they met each other at the airport gate. One is a woke American family with a bossy but well-intentioned mom; the other is a 1.5 generation Iranian immigrant family. The two families befriended each other, and through the years the readers see how they connect with each other and relate to their family and culture. They raised their girls very differently, and it was interesting to observe how and why they do things differently. Starting from Chapter 2, each chapter are told from the viewpoint variating from a member of one family and then a member of the other family.

For the Iranian family, especially the grandmother who was a 1st generation immigrant, finding a place in America is an overarching theme (hence the book title "Digging to America"). But really every character in the book is trying to find a place for themselves amongst their family and friends. I really enjoyed this book. Many of the vignettes of immigrant family life resonated with me. ( )
  CathyChou | Mar 11, 2022 |
Even though I admire Anne Tyler's understanding of the "immigrant experience", I got bored with this book. The parties were repetitive. Everything was drawn out to long. ( )
  Marietje.Halbertsma | Jan 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (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.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tyler, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, BlairReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, Jennifer MorganInterviewersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At eight o'clock in the evening, the Baltimore airport was nearly deserted.
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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.

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