A Spool of Blue Thread
"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are a ...more
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2…moreI just read an article on the Wall Street Journal's website, where Anne says she is not retiring, which is great news!
When reading A Spool of Blue Thread I kept waiting for the climax, but it never came....it just unwound and unwound. Yes, there were a few minor surprises, but not enough to save this book.
This is a great example of a popular author, dynamic publisher's marketing campaign and an attractive cover all working together to create a great deal of noise around a medioc ...more
This book was lovely. That's how I would describe it. I'm not going to sell it as anything it isn't - fans of fast-paced action and fantasy should look elsewhere - because this is a quiet, moving family drama; nothing more or less. And yet, that was more than enough to make this one of my favourite, beautifully-written character studies.
Sometimes there are tho ...more
That’s the beauty of Anne Tyler’s writing. Her characters are quirky, eccentric, and so achingly real that they could step off the page and seamlessly ...more
So how can it be so wonderful? The funky meals, the wacky professions, the distracted mothers and the lost children — they’re all here. But complaining that Tyler’s novels are redundant is like whining that Shakespeare’s sonnets are always 14 ...more
I own 6 -not yet read paperback books ( thrift book specials or freebies ), by
Ann Tyler, yet "A Spool of Blue Thread" is my very first novel I've read by this
I fell in love in Ann Tyler in a more indirect way than most of her fans. Being a late bloomer reader, myself, somehow, I missed her books. ( not intentionally).
But...this is the way I first 'melted' for Ann.
It was 3 years ago...2013: The San Jose Mercury newspaper ran a HUGE 2 full-length spread int ...more
I liked the well-defined kooky characters.
I liked their descriptively inviting (well built) home.
I liked the surprising turn of events in the second half...and
I liked the significance of the Spool of Blue Thread.
I did not care for the abrupt transitions in time.
I would have liked a faster pace in the storytelling.
I really wanted to know more about Denny's mysterious life.....and
I would have liked a resolution to my many unanswered qu...more
A Spool of Blue Thread is about the Whitshank family of Baltimore. The novel covers several generations and different family perspectives, but the heart of the book was with the mother, Abby Whitshank. Abby loves and frets over her children and grandchildren, and she frequently invites strangers over to dinner if she feels they need someplace to go. But Abby is getting forgetful as she gets older, ...more
Delightful, amusing, poignant and so darn realistic. The novel ...more
I hate to say it but I found this book a bit tedious and really hard to get seriously invested in.
It's not that it is badly written, because it isn't, and I had no problem with the delivery...it just didn't grab me...I kept reading on thinking it will pick up soon, something will happen, but it never really did. Or, when it did, it didn't have any of the emotive elements one would expect to be captivated by.
For the most part I found it only vaguely interesting, a bit like casual eavesdropping o ...more
Three generations of the Witshank family is introduced by the author in a low-key, no-frills-no-fuzz manner. They were not outstanding; they did not change the world; but they were the epicenter of what it means to be American.
The story is not linear, and the surprise, or rather mystery, of the family's origin, is delivered in the last part of the book. The narrative is character-driven.
What I take away is that we can all forgive ourselves for be ...more
We all have them don’t we, that dish we turn to when feeling blue or just wanting to revel in hearth and home. For me that dish has always been beefaroni, not the Chef Boyardee shit, but real homemade beefaroni. Follow up a big dish of that, with warm Dutch apple pie and vanilla ice cream, paired with a glass of the good stuff, slippers on my tootsies and a good book and colour me content and life good.
Reading A Spool of Blue Thread brought these i ...more
This is a very simple piece of literary fiction that focuses on its characters and their development. It is about a family of many members whom we gradually get to know. Anne Tyler has structured the storyli ...more
The inner-workings of a family, the intricate meshing and chafing of grown siblings with leftover feelings from when they were young. It all comes through here. It's a quiet tale, well told. ...more
Anne Tyler has done here what she does best , describing perfectly these less than perfect , very ordinary people with their quirks , dramas , secrets and resentments as well as their love for each other . It is so realistic in so many ways. We are able to laugh at the funny and cry at the sad of it all because this family may remind us in some ways of our own or someone's that we know . Who doesn't know a family with a black sheep like Denny ? Who doesn't know what sibling resentments from the ...more
The first two hundred pages or so of this family saga were merely a moderately entertaining and engaging story of the Whitshanks, an elderly Baltimore couple. Abby occasionally has spells of forgetfulness, while husband Red is losing his hearing. What's to be done? Should one of their children come look after them in their handsome house?
The couple have so many children – three biological and one adopted – as well as ...more
I went the audiobook route for this one, and it was definitely worth it. It’s about 13 hours long, but it just breezed by. Kimberly Farr narrates and does a fantastic job ...more
This one just didn’t come together for me. The jumps between the times and generations didn’t work and I couldn’t see a clear reason for it. Some of the important events/feelings weren’t explored enough or explained.
"And time... Well you know about time. How slow it is when you're little and how it speeds up faster and faster once you're grown. Well now it's just a blur. I can't keep track of it anymore! But it's like time is sort of balanced. We're young for such a small fraction of our lives, and yet our youth seems to stretch on forever. Then we're ol...more
I've been a fan of Anne Tyler for many, many years. In my opinion, there are few authors who can consistently weave compelling, moving stories about both the seemingly mundane and the more dramatic moments families experience.
Apparently Tyler has said that A Spool of Blue Thread , her 20th novel, will be her last. I tried not to let that fact influence my expectations or color my perceptions of the book.
Abby Whitshank has known her husband Red for as long as she can re ...more
By my count I've now reviewed around 50 books for USA TODAY. I've never given any of them four stars until today: to A Spool of Blue Thread, the masterful 20th novel by Anne Tyler.
What makes it so good? Its subject is her most recognizable and essential one, family, its setting again Baltimore, its story told in her customarily sweet, wistful, comic voice. In other words, A Spool of Blue Thread has all the ingredients that come together to powerful effect in the author's ...more
The novel is enormously well-written. The characterizations are excellent; anyone wishing to build a story with believable, tangible cha ...more
Every family is it's own self, has its own identity, and that is certainly true of the Whitshanks. They seem almost a mirror--how do they compare to other families? Are they "every" family, as t ...more
I adore Anne Tyler. When she is on she is so-oo on! But she is hit and miss and this book was just weak. In many ways it was typical Anne Tyler, (she herself has said she's written the same book over and over) but it just fell flat.
I know other people say exactly the same thing about the books I love, so there you have it.
I'm perfectly willing to admit that it's me and ...more