NATIONAL BEST SELLER • TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR USA TODAY • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: O Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Times (London)
A charming new novel of self-discovery and second chances from the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread.
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn't sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she's never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.
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-centered 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 quirky families that have broken or are trying to recreate themselves. Plaintive Willa's birth family rebellious sister Elaine, long-suffering dad Melvin, and "tempestuous" and abusive mom Alice is fractured, and at 61 Willa is confronted with lonely Baltimore single mom Denise and her precocious, love-starved daughter, Cheryl. The novel's first half offers snapshots of Willa, at 11 in 1967; at 21, as she reluctantly agrees to marry her college sweetheart, Derek; and as a new widow at 44. The narrative then jumps to 2017, when Willa, now married to stuffy retiree Peter, 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. , Correction: this review was edited for clarity.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Still waiting for something to happen
I enjoyed the writing, but the book ended before anything ever happened. I’m ok with a few loose ends this book didn’t wrap up a single relationship.
I have read quite a number of Tyler’s books. This was “pleasant”. Nothing more or less. Very predictable, although she is proficient in catching the essence of her characters very quickly.
I hate it when reviewers say “I couldn’t put it down “ so I am not going to say that, but I will say I looked forward to having a reason to sit down and pick this book up again. I am surprised at the readers who disliked Clock Dance. Anne Tyler always has a good story to tell and this one will be one of my favorites. Wonderful characters and setting. And the ending was just right. If you are an Anne Tyler fan you will like this story. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last. I feel like I have left all those interesting people and want to know how their lives turn out. Great read👏