NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . . ” This is how Abby Whitshank always describes the day she fell in love with Red in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor.
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND USA TODAY | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Chicago Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Telegraph • BookPage
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 listening to a warm, lively, and affectionate expert narrate a fascinating home movie about a family that's 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
Not worth the time
Nice read with no point very disappointing
Spool of blue thread
Bought the book because of the authors name and liked the cover. The book never went anywhere. Characters were dull, couldn't find a plot, finally just stopped reading it.
Characters were not interesting and story was boring. It was very hard to finish this book. I put it down after a few hours and only came back and finished it weeks later when I had nothing else to read.