September 2015

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – 4

Getting underneath the skin of an ‘ordinary’, unremarkable family, this is a story about the little things that push people apart and pull them back together, the truths behind the myths, the special moments alongside the mouldering resentments and the secrets big and small which all provide the foundations for our memories and infrastructure of our lives.  The family trade of construction is a metaphor for all of that visualisation and growth.

I wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy this novel, but was actually quickly drawn into the complex dynamics of the Whitshank family soap opera very quickly. After reading several books with quite superficial characterisation recently, it was a relief to read something a little more sensitive to the layers that go into each character, how we perceive ourselves differently than we are perceived by others, and how, also, we change.

Although there was an overall positive “we shall overcome” feeling to the story, there was also something of an inherent sadness, which reminded me a little of Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell.


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