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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne…

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)

by Anne Tyler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,995622,709 (3.86)303

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Most people raved about this book. I’ve read other books by this author, but years ago. I was disappointed. I just never got into the story. I really didn’t care. Maybe I’m too old to appreciate the family dynamics. I’m seeing the world more from Pearl’s vantage point in life. The view is different. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
The cover of my book claims this is a New York Times Bestseller--I guess this is why I don't hold much stock with the bestseller lists. Don't get me wrong, it was an okay read. Kind of bittersweet. But I didn't think it was anything spectacular.

The title finally made sense to me at the end of the book. Prior to that, I struggled along trying to figure out what the book was supposed to be about. The writing seemed very passive to me. No one seemed to really do anything most of the time--it was as if things just happened around them.

Beck Tull walks out on Pearl, leaving her with three children to raise. Cody, the oldest, becomes very competitive, wanting to win at everything, so it galls him when most of his girlfriends that he brings round suddenly take more interest in his brother, Ezra, than in him.

Ezra, the middle child, befriends an elderly widow who owns a restaurant and whose son was killed in the war. He ends up inheriting the restaurant. Along the way, he meets a cook whom he plans to marry--until his older brother steals her away from him.

Jenny, the youngest child, becomes a pediatrician and, after several false starts, ends up with a large blended family.

Pearl's death reunites the entire family who may finally have a meal altogether at Ezra's restaurant. ( )
  JenniferRobb | May 10, 2018 |
oh my gosh -- i am having quite a time trying to figure out what to say about this book. i finished it two days ago and feel pretty conflicted about whether it was a good read, or whether i loved it.

i read this novel years ago. and while i hadn't held on to a lot of the details, i had considered it one of my favourite anne tyler books. i wish i had clearer recollections from that last time, because this time, i just fee so sad and heavy-hearted. tyler's examination of family, and the nuances of time, relationships, and memory are excellent - though i felt a lot of frustration with the characters and with cody, in particular. i was also left feeling like i wanted a bit more depth. there is so much that goes unsaid and unexpressed in dinner at the homesick restaurant - resulting in a lot of unexplored terrain.

tyler is on record as saying this novel is her favourite, and that she loves her character ezra. while i was reading, i certainly felt the love for ezra too - he just seems like such a kindly, gentle man. ezra spends a good part of the novel trying to get his family to successfully make it through one entire meal together, only to be thwarted in his attempts again and again. each time a family meal is planned, you know how it's going to go... and yet there's hope ezra will achieve this one little triumph.

throughout the book, tyler provided alternating points of view among matriarch pearl tull and all three of her children (cody, ezra, and jenny) - as well as one section through her teenaged grandson's eyes (luke). this approach definitely reflected how differently the same situations or experiences can be interpreted or felt by different people, and how shared experiences vary among family members.

so what do you do when you read a book that you appreciate greatly for what the author has done... and yet you are left feeling miserable by the reading experience?? i am settling on the dreaded 3 ½-stars for now... but maybe i will gain some clarity over the next few days and realize my love for tyler shouldn't be questioned?? :) ( )
  Booktrovert | May 5, 2017 |
This isn't an action book or a mystery. It's a story about a family and how the various members see things differently throughout their lives. The reader becomes familiar with each character the author has astutely rendered. It's a study of people in the same situation having different reactions and remembering different things, for one thing. It's much more than that. Well worth the read. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
"There ought to be a whole separate language, she thought, for words that are truer than other words - for perfect, absolute truth."

This was my second book by Anne Tyler, and I read it for Mark's AAC. The first book of hers that I read was The Accidental Tourist, and I really loved that one. What Tyler does so well is to create quirky characters and then slowly peel back and reveal the layers. I find that her books are more of a character study than a plot driven narrative, so she is not for everyone, and it shows over on the AAC thread. I like her because I find that she always has something interesting to say about life, and because I think she is a keen observer. What she captures over and over again is brokenness. This novel had less humor than The Accidental Tourist, but it really spoke to me - perhaps because I come from the same type of dysfunctional family that Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant encapsulates. If you have read this book, then you have met my mother, and I have found that the same insights that Cody, Ezra, and Jenny gain as adults also apply to my mom. Because distance and time reveal truths.

I know that some readers have commented that nothing happens in this novel and that there is no character growth. That it's too depressing. But that's just it. Life is like that sometimes. Painful to experience and tortuous to watch unfold. We want the characters to escape, to be stronger, to make smarter choices, to walk away. To not look back. But that is the burden and also the blessing of family - it clings to you, ensnares you and refuses to let go without a fight. Not everyone rises above their circumstances, and we certainly, even when we know it is absolutely hopeless, want our parents to value us. To love all of us, even the parts they don't understand or agree with. And when they can not or will not, it hurts. It breaks us a bit. And this is where Cody and Ezra and Jenny are stuck - in their brokenness. They cannot distance themselves from their mother's grip. And this impedes their forward progress in life.

"At the funeral, the minister, who had never meant their mother, delivered a eulogy so vague, so general, so universally applicable that Cody thought of that parlor game where people fill in words at random and then giggle hysterically at the story that results. Pearl Tull, the minister said, was a devoted wife and a loving mother and a pillar of the community. She had lived a long, full life and died in the bosom of her family, who grieved for her but took comfort in knowing that she'd gone to a far finer place.

It slipped the minister's mind, or perhaps he hadn't heard, that she hadn't been anyone's wife for over a third of a century; that she'd been a frantic, angry, sometimes terrifying mother; and that she'd never shown the faintest interest in her community but dwelt in it like a visitor from a superior neighborhood, always wearing her hat when out walking, keeping her doors tightly shut when at home. That her life had been very long indeed but never full; stunted was more like it. Or crabbed. Or...what was the word Cody wanted? Espaliered. Twisted and flattened to the wall - all the more so as she'd aged and wizened, lost her sight, and grown to lean too heavily on Ezra. That she was not at all religious, hadn't set foot in this church for decades; and though in certain wistful moods she might have mentioned the possibility of paradise, Cody didn't take much comfort in the notion of her residing there, fidgeting and finding fault and stirring up dissatisfactions." ( )
5 vote Crazymamie | Jan 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Every other year or so since 1964, loyal readers pick up their new Anne Tyler novel as they would buy a favored brand of sensible shoe. Each of her nine books is solidly constructed from authentic and durable materials. Yet traditional style and comfort do not necessarily mean dullness. Tyler's characters have character: quirks, odd angles of vision, colorful mean streaks and harmonic longings. They usually live in ordinary settings, like Baltimore, the author's current home, and do not seem to have been overly influenced by the 7 o'clock news. An issue in a Tyler novel is likely to mean a new child; a cause, the reason behind a malfunction in an appliance or a marriage.
added by Shortride | editTime, R. Z. Sheppard (pay site) (Apr 5, 1982)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Tylerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leigh-Loohuizen, RiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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While Pearl Tull was dying, a funny thought occurred to her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911594, Paperback)

“Beautiful . . . funny, heart-hammering, wise . . . superb entertainment.”
–The New York Times

“A book that should join those few that every literate person will have to read.”
–The Boston Globe

Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not of her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore’s Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the older son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet, clumsy Ezra, Pearl’s favorite, who never stops yearning for the perfect family that could never be his own.

Now Pearl and her three grown children have gathered together again–with anger, hope, and a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.

“A novelist who knows what a proper story is . . . [Tyler is] not only a good and artful writer, but a wise one as well.”

“Anne Tyler is surely one of the most satisfying novelists working in America today.”
–Chicago Tribune

“In her ninth novel she has arrived at a new level of power.”
–John Updike, The New Yorker

“Marvelous, astringent, hilarious, [and] strewn with the banana peels of love.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore's Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the oldest son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet and clumsy Ezra, Pearl's favorite, who never stops yearning for the "perfect" family that could never be his own. Now grown, they have gathered together again-with anger, with hope, and with a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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