Tuesday 1 December 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
A Spool of Blue Thread may be Anne Tyler's last novel - so she has been reported to say. At 74, she has mastered the craft of storytelling. This, her 20th book was nominated for a Booker prize, and Anne has previously won the Pulitzer.
So you can relax, when you sit down to read this. There are no errors to spot, the characterization is excellent. We come to know the Whitshanks, how Abby fell in love with Red, the back story of their children - black sheep Denny, perfect Amanda, Stem and Jeannie, and so the thread unwinds.
The writing is beautiful, there is nothing to jar. The story moves at a lovely pace, and there is crisply revealed family history that relates to the siblings and the plot, and makes you smile at its warm roast chicken familiarity.
There is even conflict - between the children of this generation, and we hear of some scandals and surprises from the last generation, which have their impact in this one.
I hate it when readers say "It wasn't you, it was me," when they didn't love a book. but this is that case. There is nothing to criticize in this book, except the degree of enjoyment I experienced reading it. It just never hit any spots, or high notes for me.
This is a lovely read, highly recommended for all who enjoy Jane Smiley and the rambling all-American generational tales. And it's better than most.
3 out of 5 stars
You may also enjoy Some Luck by Jane Smiley or Lila by Marilynne Robinson