A bittersweet novel of family and self-discovery from the bestselling, award-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: her mother’s disappearance when she was just a child, being proposed to at an airport at the age of twenty-one, the accident that would leave her a widow in her forties. Each time, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.
So when she receives a phone call from a stranger informing her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman and her nine-year-old daughter leads Willa into uncharted territory and the eventual realisation that it’s never too late to choose your own path.
'She is and always will be my favourite author' Liane Moriarty
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Few writers capture the minutiae of daily life with the precision and wit of Anne Tyler. Clock Dance is the story of Willa Drake, a caring, thoughtful woman whose life’s trajectory has been defined by her relationships with her self-centred mother, meek father and her un-evolved, alpha husbands. But when Willa is asked to come to the aid of her son’s ex-girlfriend and her young daughter, she strikes out on a path that might finally push her to live life on her own terms. We loved, loved, loved every moment we got to spend with Tyler’s spring-off-the-page characters.
Pulitzer winner Tyler (following A Spool of Blue Thread) takes a bittersweet, hope-filled look at two quirky families that have broken apart and are trying to find their way back to one another. Plaintive Willa is the link between her own fractured Pennsylvania family rebellious sister Elaine, long-suffering dad Melvin, and "tempestuous" and abusive mom Alice and that of lonely Baltimore single mom Denise and her precocious, love-starved daughter, Cheryl. The novel's first half follows Willa as she negotiates her troubled teenage years in the 1960s and her 20s and 30s in the '70s, her reluctant marriage to college sweetheart Derek, and her late-in-life second marriage with stuffy retiree Peter. The narrative then jumps to 2017, when Willa gets a breathless call to come to Baltimore to help take care of Cheryl, the young daughter of her son's recent ex-girlfriend, as Cheryl's mom, Denise, recovers from a mysterious shot in the leg. There, Willa settles amiably in a neighborhood of misfits, hooligans, and steely survivors and explores her own family miseries. The cast of sharply drawn characters dominates in ways both reflective and raucous across a series of emotional events, such as Willa's baffling encounter with a would-be hijacker, a heartbreaking moment with her elderly dad, and the jolting advice she receives from a kindhearted doctor. It's a stellar addition to Tyler's prodigious catalogue. 250,000-copy announced first printing.