LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
From the beloved Anne Tyler, a sparkling new novel—an instant New York Times bestseller—about misperception, second chances, and the sometimes elusive power of human connection.
Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, he seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life.
But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a "girlfriend") tells him she's facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah's meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.
An intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, and a funny, joyful, deeply compassionate story about seeing the world through new eyes, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a triumph, filled with Anne Tyler's signature wit and gimlet-eyed observation.
“Tyler's novels are always worth scooping up—but especially this gently amusing soother, right now.” —NPR
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This slender new novel by Anne Tyler, the author of bestsellers like Clock Dance and The Accidental Tourist, is as comforting as fried chicken and mashed potatoes. You might not have much sympathy for her unremarkable, cranky hero, Micah Mortimer, at first. A middle-aged bachelor and former tech whiz, Micah now lives a rigid, emotionally detached life in his basement apartment, emerging to fulfill his duties as the building super or help Luddite customers as a mobile computer geek. When Micah gets dumped by his easygoing girlfriend, Tyler uses her characteristic humor and thoughtful insights about flawed, everyday people to turn Micah into someone we can all identify with. Forced to rethink his way of life, Micah becomes aware of how he’s been the architect of his own isolation. A surprise and then a revelation, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a gentle, reassuring reminder that we’re all capable of change and that pain can often lead to second chances.
A fastidious everyman weathers a spate of relationship stresses in this compassionate, perceptive novel from Tyler (Clock Dance). Micah Mortimer, 43, makes house calls for his Tech Hermit business and moonlights as the superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, where the residents observe his regimented routine and wonder, through Tyler's gossip-inflected narration, "Does he ever stop to consider his life?" The disruptions begin with a call from his schoolteacher girlfriend, Cassia Slade, who is in a panic because she is facing eviction. Then college freshman Brink Adams shows up on his stoop and claims to be his son. Micah knows it isn't true, because he never slept with Brink's mother, Lorna, an old girlfriend, but he tolerates the languid, starry-eyed kid who claims to look up to him for living a working-class life and who fixated on a photo of Micah kept by Lorna. After Micah tries to put Brink in touch with Lorna, he disappears. When Cassia dumps him for not immediately offering to let her move in, Micah descends into a funk that just might push him to prove himself worthy of her companionship. While Micah's cool indifference occasionally feels like a symptom of Tyler's spare, detached style, his moments of growth bring satisfaction. This quotidian tale of a late bloomer goes down easy.
Redhead by the Side of the Road
I enjoyed the book, but this is a novella, not a novel. I don’t think I should have paid 14.00 for a book that is less than 200 pp. I am very disappointed. I don’t usually make it a habit of checking to see how many pp a book contains before I purchase it, but I guess I will from now on.
I can’t believe I paid $14 for a book that is really a couple of chapters. It is well written but a disappointment.
Redhead by the Side of the Road
I love Anne Tyler’s books and this was very enjoyable. I like her descriptions of the people and the bits of humor she injects. I was truly surprised and disappointed when I reached the end, expecting that the sorry would go on much longer.