Anne Tyler || A Spool of Blue Thread

At 2/3rd of the novel A Spool becomes edgy. Having followed an well-known concept Tyler surprises with an unexpected twist. She reveals the truth behind some family stories; the family myths turn out to be slightly less idyllic. Anne Tyler introduces us to the Withshanks, the prototype family in novels or series: a well-behaved family living a respectable life with the exception of one black sheep, son Denny. Several other small dents in the family pop up from time to time: son-in-law Hugh who skips from career to career, son Stem who turns out to be adopted but nevertheless follows in his father’s shoes, daughters Amanda and Jeannie who have always felt that the boys just mattered more and parents Red and Abby who with the years start having more and more health issues. By returning back in time unexpectedly Tyler shows us how Red and Abby met and, more important, how Red’s parents Junior and Linnie met. The myth of the hard working caring family patriarch and his loving self-sacrificing wife is shattered successfully. As is the myth of America as the place where everybody is equal and has equal chances. The Whitshanks find that despite their beautiful home in a upgrade area they are not considered upgrade by their neighbours; providing for their family as successful carpenters with a successful business does not automatically lead to a better place in society. I especially liked the last part of A Spool. It was pleasant reading about the Whitshanks, it was a treat to discover the truth about the family myths. A Spool of Blue Thread sets of as one of those rather bland cupcakes and turns out to have a secret ingredient in the icing: hot peppers. A spicy combination that does the trick and lifts A Spool from bland into the category of good novels.

Blue Thread


About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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2 Responses to Anne Tyler || A Spool of Blue Thread

  1. Sounds good. I haven’t read any Tyler in a long time, but I do love a family saga.

  2. Pingback: A Bailey’s Short List recap: Anne Tyler || A Spool of Blue Thread | booksandliliane

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