- Paperback: 291 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034549234X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345492340
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 271 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Digging to America: A Novel Paperback – August 28, 2007
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“To read a novel by Anne Tyler is to fall in love.” —People
“Startlingly fresh while retaining everything we love about her work.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Touching . . . a reassuringly honest and heartful examination of coming and good intentions.” —Miami Herald
About the Author
ANNE TYLER is the author of more than twenty novels. Her eleventh novel, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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The perspective shifts from chapter to chapter, a way to introduce most of the main characters. We primarily get to know the American mother, Bitsy, who is an opinionated, educated woman. She doesn't believe in disposable diapers or preschool, and she keeps her Korean-born daughter's given name, "Jin-ho," scoffing at the Yazdan family for changing their baby's name from "Sooki" to "Susan." There is also a tremendous amount of focus on Susan's Iranian grandmother, Maryam, a widow, who came to America by way of an arranged marriage. Maryam's experience as an immigrant and her constant struggle to assimilate to the American culture is mostly what this story is about, and when she becomes involved with Bitsy's widowed father, Dave, their awkward romance has tremendous impact, as these two families grow and change together.
I found chapter 9, when the perspective switches to young "Jin-ho," now the older sister to a little girl, "Xiu-mei," who was adopted from China, to be at first jarring to the pace of the story. The language and observations are too lofty for an adolescent. But as the story of the "Binky party" unfolds--another one of Bitsy's ideas to rid her daughter of the constant need for her pacifier--I grew more comfortable with the perspective, and found the story quite funny. The chapter itself was like a short story within the novel.
I recommend this book for Anne Tyler fans, and for those who appreciate character-driven stories and writing that flows.
Michele Cozzens, Author of A Line Between Friends and The Things I Wish I'd Said.
Even though Susan's grandmother had plenty of verbiage devoted to her character development, it seemed that the choices she made were inconsistent with her character.
Anne Tyler's late husband was an Iranian, Dr. Taghi Modarressi, a psychiatrist, so she knows a lot about the Iranian culture. I am sure that she writes about her personal experiences of being an American woman married to an Iranian, and about the grief of losing a loved one to cancer. I don't remember the name of the book she wrote after her husband passed away, but I do remember the change in tone of that book -- more somber and more reflective. However, some parts of this book made me laugh out loud, especially Xiu-Mei and her "binky."
One of her best, if not the best.