Read: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
February 28, 2016 5 Comments
This is my twelfth book of the year. A book for our real-life book group. We haven’t discussed it yet, but I’m very curious what the others will think of this novel. I was in two minds about it.
I’ve read a few books by Anne Tyler, that I enjoyed, so I had good hopes for this one.
A Spool of Blue Thread is about a family over the course of one generation, in which parents and children grow older and their relationships with each other change. Later in the book, there are several chapters devoted to the generation before them – this made up only a small part of the book.
For me, this was an odd read. The story went quite fast through certain years, then focused on some important events in the family. To some degree, that felt as a summary, rather than a full story. Also, while very interesting and revealing, the chapters about the older generation felt like they were an afterthought.
On the other hand, this book was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. While I don’t care much about literary prizes, it does suggest this novel is seen as outstanding. I do definitely think the writing was beautiful and I wasn’t bored for one moment. The build-up of the story just…didn’t feel right.
This is what the publisher says: ““It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…” This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.”