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Searching for Caleb

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,009 ratings  ·  112 reviews
"Magic and true, dazzling and wise...It has an astounding confidence, depth and range...A wonderful, wonderful novel."


Duncan Peck has a fascination for randomness and is always taking his family on the move. His wife, Justine, is a fortune teller who can't remember the past. Her grandfather, Daniel, longs to find the brother who walked out of his life in 19
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 12th 1975 by Knopf (first published 1975)
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I think this is the most beautifully written book I have ever read. I can open to any page and get drawn in. Bittersweet and inspiring.
Ayelet Waldman
I read this as I finished the final rewrites for my book that is now called Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. Anne Tyler is a perfect role model for me as a writer. High aspirations are good for a person. I liked this book very much, despite the fact that the main character is a fortune-teller. I usually hate free spirits, and I was afraid she'd be one. But she was significantly less of a twit than I had feared.
This is the first Anne Tyler book I've read, though she has been recommended to me more than once. I didn't really connect with this book, and am still contemplating what the deeper meaning behind the story could be...

On the surface, the story of a wacky, and in my mind, pitiful woman from a large, closed Baltimore family who marries her cousin and then spends her life being dragged (and dragging her poor grandfather) from one ramshackle, cheap rental to another is not at all relatable and entir
I always enjoy Anne Tyler's writing. This is one of her earlier books (1976) and you can tell. Her characters are more stereotypical and the plot less complex and more predictable than her later books.

However, i did enjoy her portrayal of the repressed Brahmin WASP Baltimore family who allowed no one out of the family and rarely allowed anyone in -- an occasional similar wife might be an exception.

Her story focuses on the 3 rebels who do manage to leave the family because they cannot live with
Shana Kennedy
Anne Tyler is an unfailingly good storyteller. How does she create such absorbing characters, who are so odd and unique, yet completely understandable to the reader? Duncan and Justine Peck are exactly these types of characters, complete eccentrics who win our hearts. Their story has levels of the day-to-day mundane - peanut-butter sandwiches, ill-fitting clothes, U-Hauls; but it is colored by the extremes of their lifestyles, a prim-and-proper dysfunctional extended family, gypsy-type traveling ...more
Geo Forman
How often do you finish a book smiling with a warm feeling? Have you ever heard of a "bread and butter note"? A close-knit family with its own set of black sheep and eccentrics growing up in Baltimore in the early and mid 1950's. Although my rating says "amazing" that is a bit extreme but it deserves better than the next rating of "I really liked it". I loved the book. The people were real and fun with their own share of misery who managed to always overcome. My second Anne Tyler book but not my ...more
L'essenza di questo libro sta tutta nella parola "diversa" che è nel titolo.
In tutte le pagine è un contrapporre il concetto di "normalità" a quello della "diversità", intesa semplicemente come ribellione a canoni già stabiliti.
La famiglia Peck di Baltimora è facoltosa, i suoi membri sono "normali" cioè seri, posati, "inquadrati" nel senso del dovere e nel rispetto delle tradizioni di famiglia. Justine, la protagonista, sviluppa da subito un rifiuto per tutto ciò che è convenzionale: si innamo
Family, you can never leave nor forsake them. Anne Tyler's "Searching for Caleb" examines family ties and the impact they so blatantly have on you. Tyler's use of wavering characters, Justine and her husband Duncan, explain how their misplacement did not necessarily exclude them from their " perfect family".

Throughout the story Tyler describes how indecisive Justine and Duncan were, and how they both desperately longed for for what seemed to be an epiphany. After moving away from their family
Karen S
I remember really liking this book, the first by Anne Tyler that I ever read. She catches you by surprise: you're reading along, following where the story leads, and then suddenly you're laughing out loud on the crowded subway during rush hour at the twist of humor in the simple telling of the tale; and then a few minutes later, starting to tear up. I've read a few of her others, but I have especially warm memories of this one. Read it mid- to late-70s, not sure exactly when.
Bonnie Walker
This is one of my favorite books of Anne Tyler and one of my all time favorites. I have read it numerous times. Justine is a fortune teller, but no body takes her advice even though they return again and again. She has an interesting marriage also. The book plot is actually about her travels with her grandfather searching for a brother who left home and disappeared without a trace decades ago. This is a many layered book.
Anne Tyler captures such interesting personalities, feelings and places. Even though I have a hard time with some of her characters, the writing pulls you in to get to know and love them. You want them to be different than they are, yet you love them--such intricate family relationships!
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I loved this book! it wasn't the very best by Anne Tyler but it's in the top three. I read some reviews on Amazon where people complained the time and setting jumped around but I thought it was wonderfully done: I got interested in Justine and her family before I learned about the earlier years and I was never confused by it. like all of her novels there is some heartbreaking scenes; what is sadder than missed connections and family that can't communicate? she describes this so well it can make ...more
This was the third Anne Tyler novel I have read and while it is one of her earlier and less acclaimed works, I thought it was the best one of the three. In fact, I was pretty sure it was headed for a 4 star review until about the last 20% of the book. The character development was so good and the stories were all so engaging until the very end, where I wanted more detail and wanted to get inside a little more than we were allowed. Maybe this was intentional, but I won’t explore that idea any fur ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 08, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tyler Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Liz's Gift
A friend gave me a Anne Tyler omnibus that included Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons and Searching for Caleb. Searching for Caleb, the last novel in the book, was my least favorite of the three. Tyler is a gifted writer with a clean style, writing with humor and insight, and features characters that are rounded, real and very strikingly individual, from minor secondary characters to the major ones, like Daniel, and his grandchildren, cousins married to each other, Duncan and Justine Peck.

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This was not stellar Tyler. It is rare that I don’t like the main character. In this story, I thought Justine was weak. She should have left Duncan, her husband and her first cousin, years ago. He is a total loser and can’t stay with a job. When he does find something he is interested in, it is only a matter of time before he gets bored. The drinking and solitare starts up until he finds something to settle the restlessness. The whole family, including the aunts, the uncles and the cousins are d ...more
Family drama time - some cousins get married, but their families are mostly upset that they want to leave Baltimore and the family town. They have a kid who does not appreciate moving around all of the time. A grandfather wants to locate his brother who has been missing for 60 years. There's also some fortune telling! I don't really know what to say about this book, but it made for a surprisingly good read.
Searching for Caleb is a story about a family. The Peck family. The Pecks are a closed set, satisfied with their own company. For whatever reason, the Pecks rarely associate with others and when they do, it is in a most peculiar fashion. The few outliers, the escapees - Justine, Duncan, Caleb - have gone out into the world, but cannot deny the pull of the family unit.

The story focuses on Justine and Duncan and how they hold orbit around the rest of the family, simultaneously running from and to
Charles M.
Anne Tyler's books are generally disappointing as their plots hold much promise...this is no different. This tale is about a brother in search of a long lost sibling. The plot gets there during last 50 pages!
Though not my favorite of Tyler's it is still a great read. Her typical Baltimore setting. Can't go wrong with Anne Tyler..... Always well developed and enjoyable.
Nov 18, 2008 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I really like reading books by Anne Tyler. She is a very good story teller, and very observant about the way people talk to and react to each other. This particular book has some connections with the other books about Boston and New England that I have been reading lately. The concept of "family", and keeping things in the "family", and never changing anything that the "family" has passed down across the generations is evident in this book, as well as in The Late George Apley. This story, howeve ...more
The novel is a story about Peck family and the rebels,Justine and Duncan- first cousins who married against the will of their parents. It is also a novel about pride,family roots,and growing up. There is a nice story line about searching for Caleb Peck,the brother of Justin`s grandfather- yet another rebel from this family. This line goes through the whole novel and nicely keeps things together. I liked very much Justine and also her grandfather. I felt sorry at the end that he and Caleb could n ...more
Ronald Wise
The story of Justine, a young woman who finds her escape from a xenophobic family by marrying her rebellious first cousin, establishing herself as a fortune teller, and being the traveling companion to her grandfather in search of his brother Caleb, the rebel of that generation who disappeared in 1912. I never felt like I completely understood any of the characters, but grew to appreciate their individual quirks. I learned of this novel through a birthday tribute to Tyler on Garrison Keillor's W ...more
This was one of my favorite Anne Tyler novels.
I love this heartbreaking story it's my favourite
Derek Baldwin
This plods along a little bit in the mid-section and isn't really much more than an average Anne Tyler novel, unfortunately. The story of a family too stuck in their own habits, and the high cost paid by anyone who breaks its norms, is very believable and is sketched by the author with her usual great skill. When the search for long-lost brother Caleb finally bears fruit the story takes a sad - but not unexpected turn. I enjoyed this but was glad it wasn't much longer, and can't see myself readi ...more
I am almost out-of-breath from reading this book. The characters are so busy... Always moving about, chattering on and yet never really going anywhere or doing anything. The ties of their extended family - their bland, predictable, mousy family - are so strong that even in trying to escape they are forever tied. Only in embracing the constant change are they able to move on in their ever-polite, breathless fashion. There's a lot to this book. The English major in me would like to spend more time ...more
This is an old Anne Tyler (1975) but she captures quirky folk so well it is not dated.
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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 and ...more
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