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The Accidental Tourist

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  76,981 Ratings  ·  1,569 Reviews
The New York Times

Macon Leary is a travel writer who hates both travel and anything out of the ordinary. He is grounded by loneliness and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts when he meets Muriel, a deliciously peculiar dog-obedience trainer who up
Paperback, 355 pages
Published 1987 by Penguin Books (first published August 11th 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 17, 2008 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It looks like I'm in the minority here, but I really did not enjoy this book. I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters. I thought Macon was whiny and indecisive. I couldn't be compelled to care about what he wanted, mostly because it was never made clear to me exactly what that was. He just seemed to bump along with whatever happened.

More than anything else, my problem with this book is that nothing happened. I kept thinking that possibly in the next chapter Macon would act in some way
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 16, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Modern Fiction)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
helen the bookowl
Sep 11, 2016 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another simple, but beautiful story from Anne Tyler about Macon whose son died a couple of years ago, and whose wife suddenly decides to leave him. Macon is a middle-aged man, and he has no idea how to continue living on his own. It's remarkable to see what changes he goes through during the 400 pages of this novel, and it's an inspiration to read about him as well as the people he surrounds himself with.
Throughout most of this book, I was thinking to myself: What exactly is it that makes m
This is a warm, wise, funny, heart-breaking and ultimately life-affirming book. In Macon Leary, the man who writes travel books for people who hate to travel, Tyler has created an amazing character. His damaged psyche, his vulnerability, the gradual changes in his character and outlook as he starts to connect with the messiness of living leap off the page. This book makes me laugh out loud one moment and brings tears to my eyes the next. Although Macon is the centre of the novel, the supporting ...more
Stephen Gallup
Oct 24, 2011 Stephen Gallup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read and enjoyed most of Anne Tyler’s novels (starting with Searching for Caleb, which author Don Barthelme recommended to me years ago). A character from one of her first books (I think it was If Morning Ever Comes) provided the name I later gave to my daughter. The Accidental Tourist strikes closest to home with its theme of coping with a profound loss and then the ultimate redemption that comes from such an unexpected direction. It was while reading this book in about 1987 that I first f ...more
Sep 23, 2016 Fabian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accidental tourists are annoying! (These are those pesky travelers who refuse to give up all their customs, their comforts; refuse to get lost a little in the foreignness, to LIVE.) And this book isn't. A success then!-- considering the subject matter. Yeah, the protagonist is a huge bore and as he has one of the best jobs of all time is doubly douche-ey, but he has a reason to be maudlin and dissatisfied. Lifetime Movie Network viewers would have a blast... and the novel feels dated indeed. But ...more
Barry Pierce
Macon Leary writes travel companions under the nom de plume The Accidental Tourist. The irony is that while he helps thousands of people keep their lives together as they travel, he cannot help his own life from falling apart before his eyes.

This is my first Anne Tyler, a writer who I've always relegated to someone that my mother might enjoy. To give context, my mother's reading habits consist of whatever was 3 for 2 in Tesco. However, since many people who I respect have given very positive rev

Buddy read with Kim.

I first read this back in the late eighties and loved it, and recently decided to do a re-read just to see if I still loved it as much. I've changed and my life circumstances have changed, so I wondered...

And I'm happy to say that not only do I still love it, but I think I love it a lot more than I did the first time around. Call it accumulated life experience if you like, but it had a resonance and a poignancy that touched me at a much deeper level. I laughed, I cried, I ch
Rebecca Foster
This is the first “classic” Tyler I’ve read, after her three most recent novels, and although I kept being plagued by odd feelings of ‘reverse déjà vu’, I really enjoyed it. This story of staid, reluctant traveler Macon Leary and how his life is turned upside down by a flighty dog trainer is all about the patterns of behavior we get stuck in. Tyler suggests that occasionally journeying into someone else’s unpredictable life might change ours for the good.
Oct 10, 2011 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Apologies in advance to my book group. I promise to keep my mouth shut and let someone explain to me why they like this book, because I can't figure it out.

The main character, Macon, is so compulsive and deranged. I read reviews of the book where people thought the descriptions of his daily routines were humorous. I found no humor, only desperation and pathos. His life and psychotic narrative going on in his head was too depressing for words. Reading this book made me anxious to get back to my l
Aug 03, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-good-read
On the way home from a trip, Sarah tells Macon that she wants a separation. They lost their son a year ago and both have been just going through the motions of life. What follows is a devastating, humorous, uplifting and satisfying series of events and adventures that begin when Macon agrees to have his wayward Corgi Edward trained by Muriel, a strange but enthusiastic employee he meets at the Meow Bow Animal Hospital.

I just fell in love with these characters and their quirks. I loved how the au
Oct 21, 2008 Kristie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Kristie by: no one
I finished this book a few days ago and have had to wait a few days to be able to write a review. I still am in awe of how such a slow story without any real standout events could make me miss it while I was at work and hate to turn to page and be one more closer to the end. I didn't particulary care for any of the characters until the end(except for the brash and tacky Muriel whom I loved all along). You will love Macon's transformation and watching him learn to live, not again, but for the fir ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the tenderness and melancholy of the writing. I struggled often with the very slow pace of the story that deals with the lonely and monotonous life of a middle-aged man grieving over a failed marriage and the loss of his only child. For me the strength of the book are the characters, which are delicately drawn, and their relationship with each other. 2 stars. ...more
Nov 05, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, love, family
I am an unabashed Ann Tyler fanboy. She can write about things that in another author`s hands would be mundane or cliched but with her remain completely riveting, warm and funny and desperately sad. The Accidental Tourist is the story of a man with very limited ability to handle change who in the aftermath of his sons death tries to live. This may not sound like the funniest scenario ever but there are some great moments. Loved it. ...more
Jun 04, 2007 Phyl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I guess this will always be one of my all time favourite books. For me, it worked on all levels, I loved the story, characters and the routine absurdities that form part and parecel of everyday life. There is tragedy, humour and romance. I think this is the best book Anne Tylor has written and I've read all of them. Nowhere else does she captures the nuances of relationships so well. On a personal level, this book will always mean a lot to me, introducing a kind of anal retentive anti hero who y ...more
Robert Palmer
Apr 16, 2012 Robert Palmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I first read this book about 25 years ago,I gave it three & half stars at that time,the book is the same but I am not. It gets five stars today. I understand the Macon
Leary so much better now. He seams to be so lonely in a crowd. A year after the death of has son he is still in mourning & is unable to open up even to his wife.
In the opening chapter his wife leaves him because of this, shortly after this he & Edward ( his sons dog) move back to the home he grew up in with his sister &
Dec 17, 2007 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things I liked about the book: humorous details, the symbolism (the house, the dog), driving plot

Things I am not sure that I like: the guy's wife leaves him and he "takes up" with a vibrant young woman who has a kid and a hard life. The wife comes back. I don't know who I want him to be with, since his life has somewhat changed for the better with the younger woman, and she saves him from his bitter, OCD life, but he does still love his wife and to me marriage is a sacred bond... so who should h
May 17, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A decent read, but I didn't love it, for the following reasons:

1. The dog training scenes were unrealistic, and borderline cruel. I realize this isn't a dog training book. I only hope that Anne Tyler is a cat person.

2. Muriel's desperation was overwhelming, and off-putting.

3. My usual complaint about character development and show-versus-tell. I did not discover Macon, he was handed to me as a pre-packaged collection of quirks and tragic back story.

Aug 24, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ordinary stuff of life, but with so much depth, humor, pathos and wisdom.

"He woke. It was pitch dark, but through an open window he heard distant laughter, a strain of music, faint cheers as if some sort of game were going on. He squinted at the clock radio: three thirty. Who would be playing a game at this hour? And on this street-this worn, sad street where nothing went right for anyone, where the men had dead-end jobs or none at all and the women were running to fat and the children were
Jun 09, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2008 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in reading a book that will challenge every single emotion you thought was possible.....this one will not disappoint. I was able to step inside the psyche of every single character and understand to the fullest extent their feelings of loss, fear, sadness,desperation and frustration.....simply because I have been there myself.
This story will reveal what really happens when someone loses a child.
Best have your Kleenex closeby.
Larry Bassett
I want to say that this is such an old fashion book and then I say of course it is it was written in the 1980s. That is such a long time ago and it was such a different time of my own life. The people in this book are so strange and yet it ends so sweetly. In a short addendum to the book the author suggests that at one point she had the book and doing differently but then decided it wasn't right for the characters so she changed it. There is so much in this book that makes it sweet and I think t ...more
Nov 22, 2008 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
No wonder this was made into a movie. But if you only saw the movie, read the book; this is her funniest, I think.
Apr 11, 2012 Nereia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una boccata d'aria fresca

Mi piace leggere Anne Tyler, perché mi rilassa, mi diverte, mi rende serena. Ogniqualvolta mi sento con l'acqua alla gola, ogniqualvolta vivo un periodo cupo e contrassegnato dal più tremendo dei malumori prendo in mano un libro scritto da Anne Tyler. Le sue storie, seppur mai troppo originali o sorprendenti, riescono a trasportami in un mondo parallelo, dove la vita viene vissuta con più leggerezza.
Le parole di Turista per caso scorrono velocemente e ogni capoverso cost
Oct 15, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, kindle-special
I had previously tried to read this book but put it down.

I found Macon to be a whiny, weak man and his entire family got on my nerves. My favorite characters were Muriel and Edward the dog. I loved that Muriel was so real and true to herself and didn't worry about what others thought. She was a kind soul. I thought Macon had a cool job, writing tourist guides which required him to travel all over the US, Canada and Paris, now that's something I would like to do. There were many parts that made
This is pre-9/11 when air travel was a lot simpler - you won't find a cockpit without a door these days, but they did exist on some of those really small regional planes. So keep in mind that the setting is 1985 not 2015 and you'll enjoy this even more.

Macon and Sara have lost their 12 year old son -- while at summer camp he was murdered in a burger joint by robber (today, it would be an angry man with a automatic rifle). As often happens to couples after such a tragedy, they are not doing well.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This book brought tears streaming, but also made me laugh out loud - unusual for me. Macon Leary and his wife Sarah lost their only child the year prior to beginning of the story. It was a difficult year not only for them as individuals but also for their marriage. Anne Tyler lets us see Macon, whose life has been one of order and routine, now struggle with his grief and with a life without everything that has provided meaning to his life. I am a fan of Anne Tyler, will not be able to get enough ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
This was an NPR 2007 summer read pick which I found enjoyable but just a bit dry. If anything, I did like the main theme being that most romances aren't "love-at-first-sight-can't-eat-sleep-beathe." There were certain parts that were so raw, that I occasionally had a lump in my throat. I'd love to see the movie, but this wasn't THE epic I was lead to me believe (in my opinion).
Sep 10, 2015 Nolan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls-audio
Macon Leary and his wife have tried to make their marriage succeed after their child dies. But his strange organize-everything OCD that she once tolerated is now more than she can handle. The marriage began falling apart after their young son was killed in a holdup, and his bizarre behavior combines with her grief to be more than the 20-year union can handle.

He moves in with his sister and brothers; she gets her own place; he meets a flighty flaky woman who initially seems more eager to point ou
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Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts a ...more
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“I'm beginning to think that maybe it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them.” 263 likes
“It is not how much you love someone, but who you are when you are with him.” 70 likes
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