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Saint Maybe (1991)

by Anne Tyler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,638404,229 (3.88)118
Ian Bedloe's life is forever affected by an event that took place years before--the night, in 1967, when he told his older brother, Dan, that Dan's wife had been cheating on him and that the baby son Dan had come to love was not his own.
  1. 00
    This Is the Life by Alex Shearer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In both books, men put their own lives aside to help with events surrounding their brothers' deaths. Struggling with heavy emotional and practical burdens as well as grief, they find peace through reconciliation.
  2. 00
    Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (BookshelfMonstrosity)

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» See also 118 mentions

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Von Anne Tyler habe ich schon einiges gelesen, insofern waren die Erwartungen hier sehr hoch. Für mich ist dieses Buch definitiv nicht eins ihrer besten, trotzdem hat es mir gut gefallen.
Der siebzehnjährige Ian versucht mit seinem schlechten Gewissen klarzukommen, als sein Bruder nach einer Bemerkung von ihm wütend aus dem Haus stürmt und in einem Autounfall stirbt. Er versucht mithilfe einer Kirche, auf die er eher zufällig stößt, gelebte Widergutmachung zu betreiben, indem er für dessen Kinder die Rolle eines Ersatzvaters übernimmt.

Die Autorin zeichnet ein gelungenes Bild einer ungewöhnlichen Familie, die nach einem Verlust versucht, die Schäden zu begrenzen und Einschränkungen in Kauf nimmt, um den schwächsten Familienmitgliedern zu helfen. Die Kirchengemeinde, der Ian sich anschließt, wirkte auf mich ein wenig bizarr und streng, aber durchaus praxisorientiert. Das letzte Viertel des Buches wirkte auf mich deutlich flacher als der Reste des Buches, gerade die hier neu eingeführten Figuren blieben mir fremd. ( )
  Ellemir | Nov 9, 2021 |
Review of 'Saint Maybe' and 'Stigmata'

There were clues in the titles, I realise retrospectively, that these were both books about God: ‘Saint’ in one, ‘Stigmata’ in the other…a complete coincidence that I read them back to back.

But what different takes – well, they would be different, wouldn’t they? Tyler and Dick. Not two authors one would typically mention in the same breath.

Saint Maybe deals with a person who needs God. He has planned a hot date with his girlfriend, when suddenly he is asked to babysit his brother’s children – two older step, one just born, arguably not his brother’s either. His brother’s at a bucks night, his wife has supposedly gone out with a friend, but he knows better. His brother’s wife is cheating on him. He has put all the evidence together over a period of time, it is circumstantial, but. So, when his brother turns up drunk he insists on his driving him to his girlfriend’s place and tells him along the way what he thinks about the wife. His brother drops him off and drives into a wall, killing himself. Then the wife goes downhill and dies soon after as well. He finds out that the wife wasn’t two-timing his brother, but it is all too late. He has created this situation and it determines the rest of his life. God, in the form of the pastor of a very odd little church, the kind that are dotted all over the US, saves him. He seeks God and God comes to him.

The Three Stigmata also deals with people who need God, but they take drugs instead. In a complete turnabout of how we usually see the Human-God relationship, typified by Tyler, Dick considers the notion that God’s been on his own since the beginning of – well, you know, the beginning of whatever he created – and he’s sick of being a lonely fucker. So he seeks others, in a radical role-reversal. The stigmata show that a person is inhabited by God….

Of course these books are about other things, the things that preoccupy each author’s work. Tyler writes again of ordinary lives, ordinary events – and she does make what happens in this book utterly ordinary, there is nothing the least melodramatic about it. Dick is again concerned with the nature of reality. Again he makes a future world setting incredibly believable, not least because although written in the early sixties, this one describes an Earth in its last throes due to global warming. The physical setting, the socio-economic setting, rich people getting to spend time in the coolest places on Earth, rich people getting to speed up evolution so that they create physical defences to the impact of life in a place that is too hot. It isn’t just believable, it is real.

Rich people go to Antarctica as a sanctuary, of course. Rushes off to check – thank heavens Australia owns a big chunk of it. English friends who wish to prevail upon my generous nature, please drop me a line. I expect there’ll be a queue soon enough.

Meanwhile, there is a draft system to force humans to live on Mars, a desolate life made bearable by drugtaking, a substitute for God. Rich people can be drafted too, but they are more likely to have ways to dodge it. Nothing changes.

But the backdrop to both is always there. God and his relationship to humankind. Tyler does one of those jobs – not prosletysing, she never does that – that make you see what can be good and necessary about God. Dick opens up your eyes to an incredible vision of a God which could not be more different to Tyler’s. I read them in that order, Tyler and then Dick. I recommend that, but would be curious in the impressions of anybody who did the opposite. One might ask who on earth WOULD be reading these chalk and cheese authors? But maybe they aren’t. Maybe for both of them the really big preoccupation is ordinary people struggling through life. Maybe it is only the settings of Dick that obscure this. Maybe they are more alike than one might first think….
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Review: Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler.

The story captivated the religious aspect of a family’s life, interpersonal relationships and the struggles they went through. Tyler also wrote with realistic suitable words that celebrate family life without erasing the pain and boredom that sometimes inflicts other family members.

It starts off with an average family of five living in a small town where it is ideal for newlyweds, foreigners, elderly people that get along with no scandalous behavior. This story is about the Bedloes and their three children. Bee and Doug are happily married , their daughter Claudia is also happily married and on there own, the older son Danny works at the post office and planning on marring Lucy Dean, who is divorced with two children. Their son Ian is the main character in the novel and has suspicions about an issue and talks to Danny and after Danny hears the news he dies, which starts a chain of irreversible events that changes Ian and his family life.

No time lapse before Lucy dies from an overdose of pills. Her three children are now considered orphaned. Ian struggles with guilt over the tragedies and also feels burdened with the responsibly and decides to take over the upbringing of Lucy children, Tommy, Agatha and Daphne. Ian is depressed but perseveres despite his doubts and struggles. Not long after Ian comes across “The Church of the Second Chance”, a small congregation of slightly peculiar views and opinions….What has Ian got himself into…? ( )
  Juan-banjo | Jan 26, 2020 |
I hadn't read an Ann Tyler novel in probably ten years and had forgotten how fine her books are. ( )
  dickmanikowski | May 25, 2019 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Apr 2009):
- I've enjoyed Tyler's novels and hope to read most of her work...this one came next. She does a good job relating how fairly typical Americans face up to challenging or, in this case, tragedy-induced circumstances. Here, high school senior Ian Bedloe deals with soul scarring grief and guilt over the tragic loss of a beloved brother, whose death he feels responsible for. Ian happens upon a storefront church and its solemn, plain-spoken preacher, who paints a simple picture of redemption for the guilty conscience: being forgiven by God isn't enough, Ian must dedicate himself to making up for his wrongs.
- The story from this point onward is in essence Ian doing just that, predominantly by becoming a surrogate parent for his three orphaned nieces and nephew. Sounds mundane, but not in this author's hands. The story periodically leaps forward to cover a 40 year span, with his sister's large family, Ian's parents and a colorful cast of neighbors reunited over different holidays. Never does this become over-sentimental, nor is Ian celebrated as heroic. Overall, a very good read.., though not quite as good as Accidental Tourist and The Amateur Marriage. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jun 11, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Tylerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flothuis, MeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ian Bedloe's life is forever affected by an event that took place years before--the night, in 1967, when he told his older brother, Dan, that Dan's wife had been cheating on him and that the baby son Dan had come to love was not his own.

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