THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2015
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S FICTION PRIZE
A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK
‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.
From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define the family. 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 – four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home…
'One of my favourite authors' Liane Moriarty
'She spins gold' Elizabeth Buchan
'Anne Tyler has no peer' Anita Shreve
'Anne Tyler is one of my favourite writers and this is a delicious book' Rachel Joyce
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Veteran novelist Anne Tyler beautifully captures the small moments that make up the Whitshank family’s memory bank. Abby and Red raised their children—Denny, Stem, Jeannie and Amanda—in the grand Baltimore home that Red’s father, Junior, meticulously built. Now in their sixties, the couple are starting to show the wear and tear of age, and their brood are both a great comfort and an endless source of bafflement and disappointment. Tyler captures conversations that are affecting in their realism and presents the Whitshanks' idiosyncrasies in vivid scenes. Reading A Spool of Blue Thread is a treat, like watching a fascinating home movie about a family at once ordinary and extraordinary.
Thoroughly enjoyable but incohesive, Tyler's latest chronicles the Whitshank family through several generations in Baltimore, Md. The narrative initially tackles the mounting tensions among the grown Whitshank siblings as their aging parents, Red and Abby, need looking after. The youngest son, Stem, adopted as a toddler, moves back into the family house to help care for Abby, who has spells of forgetfulness. This causes resentment in Denny, the family's eldest biological son, who is capricious and has been known to drift in and out of their lives. As matters come to a head in Abby's life and the lives of her children, the story suddenly switches to an in-depth exploration of Red's parents and Red and Abby's courtship, delving into Whitshank family lore. The interlude proves jarring for the reader, who at this point has invested plenty of interest in the siblings. Despite this, Tyler does tie these sections together, showing once again that she's a gifted and engrossing storyteller. Announced first printing of 125,000 copies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Another glorious family story
Anne Tyler turned the story of the people here back to front, which slightly annoyed me, but I think she did it to emphasise the effect they had on each other's lives and character. And it worked splendidly. As usual she draws her family members with consummate skill, using everyday details to sharpen the picture so they seem to stand up out of the book, and the story flows along around them. Brilliant, - I loved it, but of course I love all her books.
Awful, boring tedious book.