A New York Times best-selling novel of self-discovery and second chances from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Redhead by the Side of the Road
Willa Drake has had three opportunities to start her life over: in 1967, as a schoolgirl whose mother has suddenly disappeared; in 1977, when considering a marriage proposal; and in 1997, as a young widow trying to hold her family together. So she is surprised when in 2017 she is given one last chance to change everything, after receiving a startling phone call from a stranger.
Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to help a young woman she's never met. This impulsive decision, maybe the first one she’s consciously made in her life, 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.
One of the Best Books of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, The Christian Science Monitor
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.
Anne Tyler gets it; why people float through life without examining what they really want. She has a lovely way of letting us admire her characters and what makes them human. Clock Dance was one of those novels that make you root for an unfocused protagonist. I only wish Ms. Tyler had made Willa choose her path instead of making us imagine.
Waste of time
This book started out ok- the first 2 chapters- but went nowhere and was a complete waste of time. Stupid content and shallow character development. Horrible.
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.