Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel about loss and recovery, pierced throughout with her humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron grew up fending off a sister who constantly wanted to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, an outspoken, independent young woman, she’s like a breath of fresh air. He marries her without hesitation, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. Aaron works at his family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead—in their house, on the roadway, in the market—help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually, Aaron discovers that maybe for this beginner there is indeed a way to say goodbye.
“Like a modern Jane Austen, Tyler creates small worlds [depicting] the intimate bonds of friendship and family.”—USA Today
“An absolute charmer of a novel . . . With sparkling prose . . . [Anne] Tyler gets at the beating heart of what it means to lose someone, to say goodbye.”—The Boston Globe
“Classic Tyler . . . The wonder of Anne Tyler is how consistently clear-eyed and truthful she remains about the nature of families and especially marriage.”—Los Angeles Times
“Beautifully intricate . . . By the exquisitely romantic emotional climax [an] ordinary life has bloomed into an opera.”—Entertainment Weekly
In Tyler's elegant 19th novel, Aaron is an editor at a vanity press with a crippled right arm and leg who thinks of himself as "unluckier but no unhappier" than anyone else. He meets Dorothy, a brisk, no nonsense doctor, while editing a medical tome, and they fall in love, marry, and muddle along until Dorothy dies in an accident that nearly destroys their home. Aaron moves in with his overprotective sister and begins seeing Dorothy's ghost, spectral appearances that make him realize just how many fissures there were in their marriage. Tyler's gentle style focuses on the details of daily life, and how the little things, both beautiful and ugly, contribute to the bigger picture. Tyler (Breathing Lessons, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988) portrays complex, difficult, loving individuals struggling to co-exist and find happiness together. This is no gothic ghost story nor chronicle of a man unraveling in his grief, but rather an uplifting tale of love and forgiveness. By the end of this wonderful book, you've lived the lives and loves of these characters in the best possible way.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Beginner's Goodbye
Anne Tyler did an amazing job of writing about an everyday life experience with incredible seamless fabric. It was very engaging and I could not leave it for long. It assisted me in the grieving process and gave me insights into how we learn about others and ourselves even after terrible events in our lives. Not just deaths of a loved one. I would definitely recommend this book to all. We all grieve about many things in our lives and can relate to those feelings in others.
The Beginner's Goodbye
I always look forward to a new Anne Tyler book. She is my favorite author. No one has her style of writing. The Beginner's Goodbye is an excellent read. I could not put it down. I only wish she would write faster. I can't get enough of her style of writing and her characters that I can relate to. Anne Tyler is the best. I only hope her next book publishes soon. This a must read.