Read: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

threadThis 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.”


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

6 Responses to Read: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

  1. I enjoyed this one, particularly the characters. I’ve only read one other Anne Tyler novel (Breathing Lessons) and I would like to read Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant next.

  2. This was my first Anne Tyler and I liked it but wasn’t sure if it was typical or not, so went on to read Ladder of Years after it, that one was riveting!

  3. Mystica says:

    I’ve read lots of reviews on this one and haven’t got to it as yet. Sounds good.

  4. Care says:

    Yea, I wasn’t that impressed. Our book club talks about this one on Thursday and I bet I gain a new appreciation – our club can be very insightful.

  5. Nish says:

    I haven’t read any Anne Tyler book, but the synopsis of this one sounds pretty interesting

  6. Pingback: Read: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett | Leeswammes' Blog

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