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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  23,450 ratings  ·  1,819 reviews
Through every family run memories which bind it together - despite everything. The Tulls of Baltimore are no exception. Abandoned by her salesman husband, Pearl is left to bring up her three children alone - Cody, a flawed devil, Ezra, a flawed saint, and Jenny, errant and passionate. Now as Pearl lies dying, stiffly encased in her pride and solitude, the past is unlocked ...more
Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published April 30th 2012 by Vintage Digital (first published March 12th 1982)
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Martin Lilford Well, this book taught me a lot about allegory when I read it twenty years ago. The humming of bumble bees, the overflight of small planes, the…moreWell, this book taught me a lot about allegory when I read it twenty years ago. The humming of bumble bees, the overflight of small planes, the trajectory of a misdirected arrow; All should draw the attention to the intersection of Pearl's life with Beck's feckless, thoughtless love.(less)
Jeff Cramer I agree with kareninfolsom. Jenny denied association with him twice in front of Pearl. I feel that the LL Bean gifts were Jenny's atonement.
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  23,450 ratings  ·  1,819 reviews


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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Man Booker (Finalist)
This is my first time to read 3 books by an author in succession: one, two, three... Just like the saying when it rains, it pours, I am having an Anne Tyler Book Festival. After reading her The Accidental Tourist I went to the bookstore and bought Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and read right away. Then last Friday, when I was winding down with the second book, I bought Breathing Lessons and I am now reading it. The whole experience is like finding a gold mine. Here is Anne Tyler who I never ...more
Joe Valdez
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
The last time my eyes teared up during a movie was the opening scene for Pixar's Up in 2009. The only time I've done this with a novel is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award which Anne Tyler considers her best work. Published in 1982, not only is there no dust on this book--which could've been released today without seeming out of touch--but no imperfections either, in particular the way Tyler connected me with her characters, their ...more
Brian
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“How plotless real life was!”

Having completed my second read of “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” about a decade after the first I am thrilled to find that this text holds up.
This novel originally sat on my "to read" pile for years, and boy do I regret that. This is one of the best written character studies I have ever come across in my reading life. From the first page I was struck by the clarity and humanity of the writing, and the depth of reality that oozed from the characters as I kept
...more
Robin
2019 isn't off to a roaring start for me. Twice now, I've been foiled by much beloved books. Anne Tyler now joins the ranks of John Boyne in the club I am now naming: "I came, I saw, I shrugged."

I never read a book with a bad attitude - I fully expected to feel the same way about this book as... everyone else. But here I am, once again, and this time much grinchier than last time.



This is a family saga featuring the Baltimore Tulls, whose lives are forever changed when Beck Tull picks up and
...more
Maxwell
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, kindle
This was only my 2nd Anne Tyler novel but I can already tell she is going to become one of my favorite authors. Her characters are SOOO real, and her observations of everyday life are spot on. It's the kind of story where nothing happens but you can't stop reading. She brings everything to life and puts you right in the center of the story. This one took a couple chapters to get into, but once I got situated I was hooked. I loved the changing perspectives and how she was able to show you the ...more
Karen
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and really felt like I knew these characters.,, loved one of the sons, Ezra, he had my heart.
Julie
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last month I introduced myself to Anne Tyler when I FINALLY picked up my dusty copy of her '89 Pulitzer winner, Breathing Lessons. It was a slow beginning for me, but I eventually came to love her writing style and her quirky observations on life.

So, I put it out there to the ladies of book club. . . does anyone have a copy of that other book she wrote, you know, The Accidental Tourist? One of the ladies not only brought it straight to my doorstep, but also handed me Dinner at the Homesick
...more
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second read by Anne Tyler, and I instantly knew that I loved it as much as the first one. However, it wasn't until the very last pages until I realized what it is exactly that I love so much about her stories: They speak the truth!
From the two books I've read by her so far (this one and "A Spool of Blue Thread"), I can gather that Anne Tyler writes about family life and the dynamics between family members. She's a master at creating a clever plot that hides things and leaves you
...more
Antoinette
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 +++ Stars.
I can't believe this is the first book that I've read by Anne Tyler. I really don't know what took me so long, but I am now totally in awe and humbled by her mastery!
This book destroyed me in the best possible way. Anne Tyler has created a family that I will never forget- the Tull family. This book is about Mom Pearl and her three children- Cody, Ezra and Jenny. Were they a perfect family? Gosh, no- but somehow they stuck together.
" In fact, they probably saw more of each other than
...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover
Now this is great literature! It follows the lives of three siblings: Cody is bitter & envious, Ezra kind but excessively passive and Jenn is overly impulsive with a penchant for marrying the wrong men. After their father deserts the family they’re left to be raised by their mother Pearl Tull, a rigid perfectionist with a definite mean streak. What struck a chord for me was how all three children growing up in the same household could all remember their childhood so differently. I thought it ...more
Rebecca
My overall most memorable fiction read of the year. I’ve been lukewarm on Anne Tyler’s novels before – this is my sixth from her – but this instantly leapt onto my list of absolute favorite books. Its chapters are like perfectly crafted short stories focusing on different members of the Tull family. These vignettes masterfully convey the common joys and tragedies of a fractured family’s life. After Beck Tull leaves with little warning, Pearl must raise Cody, Ezra and Jenny on her own and ...more
Xueting
I think any aspiring writer (myself included) should read this book by Anne Tyler. It doesn't have the best "storyline" if there is one really here, it's not always engaging plot wise because her playing with different points of view left me quite disconnected from the characters when they don't appear after a while or suddenly a big chronological time jump happens. But it kept me reading because of the amazing, mind-blowing writing! Seriously, this are some real messed up characters and family, ...more
Margitte
This is my second encounter with Anne Tyler's books and this time is as good as the first one.

Pearl Tull raises her three kids after her husband just pack up and go. It's in the 1940 somewhere and there's not much a fuzz when it happens. Pearl stays loyal to the scroundel but also turns out to be an often miss-understood, mean and abusive mother. Most of the time it is verbal, but the effect on her children is as damaging as their father's abandonment.

How they approached life is evident in the
...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
#2016-usa-geography-challenge: MARYLAND

Once again, Anne Tyler has written a terrific book about broken families and eccentric, wounded people. The Tull family appears to have survived their father walking out on them as children but every family member seems to remember the events of their childhood a bit differently. Was Pearl a loving mother or an abusive shrew? Or was she just doing the best she could in a difficult situation?
What experiences we give emphasis to seem to shape who we become
...more
Reese
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I finished DINNER AT THE HOMESICK RESTAURANT yesterday, I have started at least five very different reviews of the novel. I've got a bad case of Prufrockitis. I'm stuck on the "overwhelming question": What am I really willing to pay attention to? As Tyler's work reminds us, what we pay attention to, not only reveals who we are, but also --to a great extent -- shapes who we become. And yet, despite its importance, this point is not what I want to focus on. That I keep discarding drafts of ...more
Bookish Ally
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a feel-good book - and in that respect it truly did it's job. I was coming off a book that was very dark and I needed to read something that offered lighter fare.

Revolving around a family, the story shows how different perspectives can be from person to person, even in the same family unit. Interesting and likable characters (although you will have your favorites and those you root for) along with a storyline but isn't too predictable this is a great book for summer read, or even a
...more
Jenny
Jun 27, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thechildinlit
At first, I didn't care about any of the children in this book, and by the end, I mostly hated them. This book was dull and disappointing, with an ending that made me furious. But this was also one of those books that, after glaring at it for a few day and letting it soak in, I realized it accomplished it's goal. It evoked something in me, at least, in the end. Though the cover and synopsis might lead you to believe otherwise, this is no beach read. But the fact that I read it over a year ago ...more
Mark André
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story about the most vital, yet most mis-understood and least appreciated enterprise in human affairs: parenting. Amazingly, every adult can look back and say, “How did I survive?” Or, equally, “How did I turn out as well as I did?” Are we grateful for the care provided or do we still hold ancient grudges? Does it make a difference what we remember? And what do we do if we have children of our own. Well written. Realistic. Sincere.
Laura
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Anne Tyler's best work. There are no lovable characters but there is no need for someone to love. The story is enough. It's a fantastic labyrinth of bitterness. Eventually, you end up loving to hate all of them.
Darlene
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many of Anne Tyler's novels over the years but for some reason, I never got around to reading 'Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant'… until now. Having finished the book, it seems to me that I unknowingly saved it for just the right time in my life. I found pieces of my own life in the characters in this story. The novel contains several themes but the theme that seems most prominent is that of the fluidity of human memory.. perhaps not simply the fluidity of memory but how unreliable ...more
Phrynne
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Usually I really enjoy Anne Tyler's books but I was not able to really engage with this one. It is a story of a dysfunctional family viewed in separate chapters by different members of the family. The book starts well with the mother on her death bed recalling her life and I had great hopes for it at that point. However as we progress through all the very unlikable members of her family I lost sympathy and then interest. At the end I cannot even remember the names of all the main characters. Not ...more
Lauren
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realism
In fact, they probably saw more of each other than happy families did. It was almost as if what they couldn't get right, they had to keep returning to. (So if they ever did finish a dinner, would they rise and say goodbye forever after?)

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a small-scale domestic novel about the lives and fortunes of the Tull family--primarily Pearl Tull and her three children, Cody, Ezra, and Jenny--and it achieves the peculiar feat of being melancholy yet too warmhearted to be
...more
Blaine DeSantis
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Anne Tyler book and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Hope to read some of her others. Interesting story of a family that is torn apart when the father decides to leave. Totally dysfunctional in their inter-personal family relationships due to that. The mother is a hard woman, who has to raise three totally different children as a single-parent. Despite this the children all succeed in life, the daughter becomes a Pediatrician, the eldest son an Efficiency Expert and the young son owns a ...more
Anna
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a great family epic, mid-20th century fiction
4.5 stars -- a great read for my holiday season theme of family relationships and dynamics. If you think your family is dysfunctional and the people you're close to are full of grudges from past hurts, and angry about miscommunication and childhood psychological abuse -- reading about this bunch will probably make you feel at least a little better about your situation (!)....
I read this fairly quickly and really enjoyed seeing the story unfold from the perspective of each character -- chiefly
...more
Heather
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have not ever read this book, stop reading this review right now, go pick it up, and don't do anything else until you're done. If you're still reading this then you're either disobedient or you know how truly fabulous this novel is. Anne Tyler is an absolutely genius writer. She takes a series of events that are seemingly nothing--seriously, nothing of "consequence" really happens in this book--but you're captivated from the first chapter.

As I was reading I found myself feeling sympathy
...more
Lorna
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant was a runner-up for the Pulitzer prize in 1982 and purported to be the favorite of author Anne Tyler of all of the novels she has written. That being said, I struggled with a lot of the book and never really cared much about the characters. However, the last chapter brought it all together for me.

We meet Pearl Tull at age 82 and dying as she reminisces about her life. It is also told from the point of view her three children over the years. Her husband Beck
...more
Nidhi Singh
Reading 'Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant' was something like the warmth of a summer breeze. The on start might not be so engaging but once you settle down in the story, the interest deepens and you are not even halfway through and you decide that this the sort of stuff you have got to like. It would take a lot not to love the story of a mother, her three difficult children, a home that is left fatherless not because of death but a sudden caprice. Or something that had been brewing for long ...more
Imi
“You think we're a family,' Cody said, turning back. 'You think we're some jolly, situation-comedy family when we're in particles, torn apart, torn all over the place, and our mother was a witch.”

Books about dysfunctional families are my favourite. This is my first book by Tyler, but it definitely won't be my last. The plot is quite simple, as Tyler's focus is the day to day lives across the years of this American family. She superbly intertwines the perspectives of four distinct characters, a
...more
Gerald
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There used to be a restaurant in Baltimore called Hausner's and I always imagined it might be the model for the Homesick. I don't think it was, though.

I just read this book again, and I find it remarkable that I remembered almost none of it. It's much sadder than I remembered. And, most surprising, I didn't remember the incidents of child abuse. Of all the things to forget! Anne Tyler is noted for her "angel's eye view" of her characters, loving and forgiving even the meanest among them. And she
...more
Cynthia Paschen
May 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers of grown children
Shelves: book-group
Update: I've been thinking more about this novel, based my Goodreads friend Reese's review and on my reading of Jane Smiley's "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel." Smiley makes some wonderful points...

"(Smiley, p. 104) And to tell the story of an ordinary family, as Anne Tyler does in "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant," may be the hardest of all to justify. The Tulls have no pretensions to distinction, other than the normal distinctions of ordinary life; they live at a certain address and have
...more
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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. She has published 20 novels, her debut novel being If Morning Ever Comes in (1964). Her eleventh novel, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member ...more
“Everything,' his father said, 'comes down to time in the end--to the passing of time, to changing. Ever thought of that? Anything that makes you happy or sad, isn't it all based on minutes going by? Isn't sadness wishing time back again? Even big things--even mourning a death: aren't you really just wishing to have the time back when that person was alive? Or photos--ever notice old photographs? How wistful they make you feel? ... Isn't it just that time for once is stopped that makes you wistful? If only you could turn it back again, you think. If only you could change this or that, undo what you have done, if only you could roll the minutes the other way, for once.” 37 likes
“When you have children, you're obligated to live.” 28 likes
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