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25 October 2012

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I just read my very first Anne Tyler a few weeks ago "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant". I liked it, but didn't love it. But I will read more...I liked it enough for that. She strikes me as a writer who is dependable somehow; like every book will reach an acceptable level of reading quality and enjoyment. I don't know how or why I surmise all that from one book...but that is my feeling.

Great comment, Ruthiella! "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" is the first Anne Tyler book I read many (many) years ago. I fell in love with her. Spent many hours with her books. I think CR wrote that she felt Tyler phoned in her last book, and I agree. Can there be books today without ghosts or other supernatural creatures???

Thanks Venta and how cool is that we started with the same title! One of the nice things about discovering a popular author late in their career is that it is pretty easy to find their books second hand. I have The Amateur Marriage on my shelf for my next Tyler read and will continue to pick them up when I find them.

Ruthiella,
I second Venta on "great comment."
I do think "Dinner" is one of Tyler's stronger titles, but I think you're right with the word "dependable." I would have gone with "comfortable," myself, although weirdly, there is often something quietly subversive about her characters. Maybe that's why I love her. There's nothing I love more than a good quiet subversive.
I will refrain from comment on The Amateur Marriage, except to say WWII plotlines of any kind--never my favorite.
Do try her first sometime--If Morning Ever Comes--I'd love to hear what you think about that one. Or any of her novels, frankly. Pop in any time on any post and let me know.

Venta,
I did think she phoned in the last one, but I also think that Anne Tyler, even when phoning it in, is a more skilled writer than the majority of novelists out there. So it didn't bother me too badly. But "Dinner..." Nothing phoned in about that one. It's pathetic, but I often think of Cody and Ezra and Jenny and their relationships with one another and their mother. So vividly drawn--and I've read that book a few times--so I almost feel like they're people I've known.
Re: ghosts and supernatural, well, if it sells, do it...

Hooray for Anne Tyler! I'll never forget reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant back in the spring of 1983. That was my introduction to her. In 1991, I read her whole canon from beginning to current book (Saint Maybe). My favorite of her books (hard to choose) is Morgan's Passing, the one right before Dinner.

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