Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Tuesday Fiction


“Oh, a French braid,” Greta said. “That’s it. And then when she undid them, her hair would still be in ripples, little leftover squiggles, for hours and hours afterward.” “Yes…” “Well,” David said, “that’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”

I'm not gonna lie...but this isn't one of my favorites of Anne Tyler, yet she is writing for a whole new generation now, so hopefully, they can take away something of this family fiction. And she most definitely hits on the family dynamics and how it works in each family in a retro kind of way. Needless to say, one will find it bitter-sweet and in some cases sad.  Although, she is busy with many characters and what is being said and for the most part it's just talk. Somehow, I feel I missed out on the feels. It was a struggle to get through (not a page turner that I am used to when I read her earlier work.) But if anybody can bring the ordinary ... well, it's Tyler. So you really have to dig as you read through this story.

The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever leave home, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy has trouble resisting the siren call of her aspirations to be a painter, which means less time keeping house for her husband, Robin. Their teenage daughters, steady Alice and boy-crazy Lily, could not have less in common. Their youngest, David, is already intent on escaping his family's orbit, for reasons none of them understand. Yet, as these lives advance across decades, the Garretts' influences on one another ripple ineffably but unmistakably through each generation.

Full of heartbreak and hilarity, French Braid is classic Anne Tyler: a stirring, uncannily insightful novel of tremendous warmth and humor that illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives, the impossibility of breaking free from those who love us, and how close--yet how unknowable--every family is to itself.


  1. Hmm interesting. Family dynamics are always interesting to read about. Especially set in the fifties like this. Sorry this one didn't entirely work for you...

  2. The French braid metaphor is clever. But I know what you mean about true-blue authors sometimes fading to gray. You'll be reading all these great books by them and then, bam, it's suddenly snooze city. Oh well. I guess everyone has an expiration date!


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