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Maggie Moran's mission is to connect and unite people, whether they want to be united or not. Maggie is a meddler and as she and her husband, Ira, drive 90 miles to the funeral of an old friend, Ira contemplates his wasted life and the traffic, while Maggie hatches a plant to reunite her son Jesse with his long-estranged wife and baby. As Ira explains, "She thinks the people she loves are better than they really are, and so then she starts changing things around to suit her view of them." Though everyone criticizes her for being "ordinary," Maggie's ability to see the beauty and potential in others ultimately proves that she is the only one fighting the resignation they all fear. The book captured the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1989. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In perhaps her most mainstream, accessible novel so far, Tyler spins a tale of marriage and middle-class lives, in an age when social standards and life expectations have gone askew. While she remains a brilliant observer of human nature, there is a subtle change here in Tyler's focus. Where before her protagonists were eccentric, sometimes slightly fantastical characters who came at the end to a sense of peace, if not happiness, Maggie Moran and her husband Ira are average, unexceptional, even somewhat drab; and outside of some small epiphanies, little is changed between them at the story's close. It's this very realism that makes the story so effective and moving. Taking place on one summer day, when Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore to Pennsylvania to a funeral, with an accidental detour involving an old black man they pass on the road and a side trip to see their former daughter-in-law and their seven-year-old grandchild, the novel reveals the basic incompatibility of their 28-year marriage and the love that binds them together nonetheless. This is another typical Tyler union of opposites: Maggie is impetuous, scatterbrained, klutzy, accident prone and garrulous; Ira is self-contained, precise, dignified, aloof with, however, an irritating (or endearing ) habit of whistling tunes that betray his inner thoughts. Both feel that their children are strangers, that the generations are "sliding downhill," and that somehow they have gone wrong in a society whose values they no longer recognize. With irresistibly funny passages you want to read out loud and poignant insights that illuminate the serious business of sharing lives in an unsettling world, this is Tyler's best novel yet. 175,000 first printing ; BOMC main selection; Franklin Library signed first edition.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Read this book years ago and so happy to own it now and read it again - such great insight to marriage and the way life affects it after many years, and the love that still... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Raissa Katona Bennett
I loved Ann Tyler's book "Accidental Tourist" but this is no "Accidental Tourist". It's dated and couldn't hold my interest so I stopped reading it 1/3 of the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pattikay
This book by Tyler is a wonder. I wonder how she can write so well about a dizzy person. It would be impossible for me to even consider such a novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Robert Ewbank
An interesting read. I felt a sense of hopelessness as I read this story. Anne Tyler captures relationships and individuals so well. Glad I read itPublished 2 months ago by L. Fullerton
One of Anne Tyler's best books. She portrays her characters as they are, not glamorous movie star ideals. One can relate to them.Published 2 months ago by M. Hull
I first read this about 20 years ago and only remembered that I wanted to read everything Anne Tyler wrote after that. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Penny Bensyl
Chose to read this book because of its Pulitzer status. I knew it was a character study vs a suspenseful read; however, I could no longer tolerate it when too many details about... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kendall McMahon