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Anne Tyler: A New Collection:Three Complete…

Anne Tyler: A New Collection:Three Complete Novels: The Accidental… (edition 1991)

by Anne Tyler (Author)

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Three of this extraordinary contemporary writer's most famous novels, include. Breathing Lessons (which won the Pulitzer Prize), as well as The Accidental Tourist (which was a major motion picture) and Searching for Caleb.
Title:Anne Tyler: A New Collection:Three Complete Novels: The Accidental Tourist; Breathing Lessons; Searching for Caleb
Authors:Anne Tyler (Author)
Info:Outlet (1991)
Collections:Your library

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Anne Tyler Omnibus: The Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons, Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler


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A friend gave me a Anne Tyler omnibus that included Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons and Searching for Caleb. The first is her most famous, having been made into a film, and the second won the Pulitzer Prize. Tyler is obviously a gifted writer, with a clean style, writing with humor and insight, and featuring characters that are rounded, real and very strikingly individual from minor secondary characters to the major characters. All three novels are centered on Baltimore families and have similar themes--particularly the tension between staying stuck and chaotic change.

The Accidental Tourist
Macon Leary has been driven to near immobility after his young son is murdered and his wife leaves him. Emblematic of his rut even before those events is his line of work--he writes and continually updates a line of books called the "Accidental Tourist" whose covers sport an armchair with wings. The idea is to tell Americana where they can find that McDonald's in London or Burger King in Paris, the most Americanized of hotels, so a business traveler can surround himself in a little bubble of home where nothing foreign can reach him. Then he meets Jill of All Trades Muriel--and she blows up his tidy little life. I like that she's not romanticized or glamorized. Muriel is very real and very flawed: flaky, temperamental, impulsive, superstitious, no intellectual, a bit trashy, and around twenty years younger. Of the three novels in this book this is definitely the most romantic, and the one that's the most hopeful that people can change--and that change can be good. It's funny and warm and memorable. Four Stars

Breathing Lessons
I wasn't very taken with the novel at first. Maggie and her bickering with her husband, Ira, exasperated me--as it did her husband. But his affection for her was evident by the end of the first chapter, and by then I felt a similar emotion for this middle-aged American Emma. Like Austen's Emma, Maggie does real damage with her interference--but does have heart. The story was studded by flashbacks in the midst of this tale of a day in which Maggie and her husband of 28 years travel to the funeral of the husband of Maggie's best friend Serena--and take a detour to visit their son's divorced wife and their granddaughter. Parts from Maggie's perspective bookend a part from Ira's point of view, forming a meditation upon love and marriage. This is what might be called "domestic drama." A The Corrections without the literary pretentiousness of style, and much more likeable characters. Three and a Half Stars

Searching for Caleb
Daniel is an old-fashioned gentleman who last saw his brother Caleb sixty years ago in 1912. He periodically goes on trips with his granddaughter 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. The other major characters, Justine and her husband 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 exactly--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 Duncan with the heat of a thousand suns, and I found how 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. Two and a Half Stars ( )
  LisaMaria_C | May 8, 2011 |
Trying to select the cover of the collection that includes "The Accidental Tourist", "Searching For Caleb", "Breathing Lessons". Anyway.
  valeriech1 | Mar 15, 2007 |
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Three of this extraordinary contemporary writer's most famous novels, include. Breathing Lessons (which won the Pulitzer Prize), as well as The Accidental Tourist (which was a major motion picture) and Searching for Caleb.

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