Culture Street

Books

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

On October 6, 2015

aspoolofbluethreadBy Sophia Whitfield
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize, Tyler’s latest novel is a magnificent portrait of family life.

Abby Whitshank, mother, daughter and grandmother, is at the heart of Tyler’s story. She always reflects on the day she and Red met, but Red had noticed her long before that day.

Tyler’s novel opens as the Whitshank’s grown children discuss how to assist their ailing parents. They congregate in the Baltimore home that has been in the Whitshank family for two generations.

The four siblings, each with their own children, must decide on the best future for their parents. The grandchildren, loud and boisterous, echo the sound of youth reinvigorating an old house with a rich history.

From the future, Tyler takes us back to the 1920s when Red’s family first arrived in Baltimore, setting down new roots and starting over. She pans back giving the reader the full scope and background to Abby and Red’s life together.

Tyler is adept at writing about the chaos and mess that arises from large complex families. The overriding feature is the warmth that this family exudes. It will make you race through the novel to the end. You will be disappointed when the last page comes and you have to say a final farewell to the Whitshank family.

A captivating and absorbing read. You can buy the book here.

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