The Beginner’s Goodbye – Anne Tyler

I’ve read every book by Tyler and you’d think that would put me in a position to talk about her work in some significant way, but as usual, I’m lost.

The thing about Anne Tyler is that she writes in an incredibly ordinary way about people who are so ordinary that I hope I never have the misfortune to meet any of them in my own life. She writes about their bland, dull existences in excruciating detail. She sends…….me…….to…….(sound of gentle snoring)

NO. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The thing about Anne Tyler is that all this keeps you on the edge of your seat. How she does that is complete mystery to me. Every now and then you find yourself saying something like ‘No, I can’t have sex now, Aaron is eating this chocolate chip cookie but it isn’t chips, no, it’s something better than chips, and how can you POSSIBLY expect me to stop right now, right in the middle of THAT?’

Every single Anne Tyler is exactly the same as every other and yet completely different. More than any of the cosmology I’ve been involved in lately, it suddenly gave me an insight into the idea of the multiverse, it made me feel like the multiverse has to be. Infinite small detail that makes everything different from everything else. Amazing.

On the more personal level, I imagine I was always likely to take to this one as the backdrop is partly a small publishing business, the operation of which is hilarious.

Hilarious whilst harrowingly sad. Sort of like a literary The Office. Splendid.

2 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Goodbye – Anne Tyler

  1. Oh no, not the old chocolate chip cookie/Anne Tyler/sex argument for the multiverse again? Roger Penrose discusses that in The Road to Reality and comprehensively refutes it.

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