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Redhead by the Side of the Road

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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  28,288 ratings  ·  3,909 reviews
Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend tells him she's facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son.

These surprises, and the ways they throw Mic
...more
Hardcover, 178 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Carolyn Wait for the library copy. I read the ebook from the library over two days. In my opinion, this one is not worth buying.
Beth Caruso I wondered too ... of course, I read that he mistook a fire hydrant for a short redhead, but I knew it had to be more than that. So I googled a bit an…moreI wondered too ... of course, I read that he mistook a fire hydrant for a short redhead, but I knew it had to be more than that. So I googled a bit and found in a NPR interview (Heller McAlpin) explained "the redhead is a lovely metaphor for the protagonist's inability to see clearly, which causes him to misread the relationships in his life." Of course, a perfect title. (less)

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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  28,288 ratings  ·  3,909 reviews


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Emily May
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, modern-lit, 2020
The only place I went wrong, he writes, was expecting things to be perfect.

I remember being in my early teens in school and our English teacher making us read Anne Tyler's Digging to America. I remember rolling my eyes, along with my classmates, because we were forced to read something so insufferably boring about everyday people living their lives and interacting with each other. So dull. Well, I don't know if it's because I'm on my way to becoming a boring old person these days, but I have
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Angela M
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a long time fan of Anne Tyler, I was excited to read an advanced copy of her newest novel which takes us back to her beloved Baltimore with another quirky character and I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t help but root for Micah Mortimer in spite of his idiosyncrasies. He has a girlfriend that he can’t bring himself to call girlfriend at his age of 44, but a “lady friend”. He has a family filled with sisters and their husbands and children . Yet, from the beginning, Micah in his neat, routine f ...more
Maureen
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
*3.5 Stars *

On the face of it, this story is just so darned ordinary, but Anne Tyler manages to turn the ordinary, the mundane, into extraordinary and imaginative, with her observations on the minutiae of life.

44 year old Micah lives alone in a basement flat, a very well ordered place it has to be said, this is a man who likes routine. He’s never been married, but has had a few girlfriends over the years, his latest being Cass, although he refuses to call her his ‘girlfriend ‘, at their age, she
...more
Paromjit
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
On the Booker Prize Longlist!

Anne Tyler excels in her grasp of the low key ordinary everyday lives of her characters and their relationships, as she demonstrates in this beautifully observed and astute novel that focuses on 44 year old Micah Mortimer. He is living in a ultra clean, well ordered, basement flat in Baltimore, a maintenance superintendent of his block of apartments, whilst running his one man tech business, Tech Hermit, addressing the tech needs and repairs of his local clientele. H
...more
Will Byrnes
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sometimes when he was dealing with people, he felt like he was operating one of those claw machines on a boardwalk, those shovel things where you tried to scoop up a prize but the controls were too unwieldy and you worked at too great a remove.
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“Sometimes,” she said musingly, “you can think back on your life and almost believe it was laid out for you in advance, like this plain clear path you were destined to take even if it looked like nothing but
...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Smooth as butter. First thing I noticed as I started reading was how seamlessly this novel flowed. Micah is a common man, a rather ordinary person albeit with a few quirks. He has a solid schedule on how his housework gets done, certain days for certain chores. I thought this might be an enviable quirk which with to live. A detailed housekeeping husband. Though I'm sure that within a short period of time his perfectionism would irk me terribly. I'm having enough trouble with the non perfecti ...more
JanB
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2020-reads
“You have to wonder what goes through the mind of a man like Micah Mortimer.”
He’s a rather ordinary man but I’ve said it before and will say it again....Anne Tyler is one of the few authors who can write about the ordinary in such an extraordinary way.

Micah is a middle-aged perfectionist. His days are regimented. Everything must be strictly scheduled, orderly and perfect in his world. “Maybe he was one skipped vacuuming day away from chaos.”

But people are messy and Micah often misses social cues
...more
Marchpane
BOOKER PRIZE 2020 LONGLISTED

Redhead by the Side of the Road is a short, character-driven novel, charming and wry, with endearing characters whose quirks are relatable and not overdone. This is undemanding reading, where you can feel at ease in the deft hands of a veteran storyteller. It’s the book equivalent of afternoon tea: comforting and enjoyable, but not really a meal.

At age 78, Tyler makes a valiant effort but—despite name-checking Uber and Facebook—doesn’t quite succeed in convincingly s
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Susanne  Strong
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Sometimes, in the Ordinary, lies the Extraordinary.

Micah Mortimer is a single man in his mid forties. A self-made man who is the “Super” at the apartment building he resides at, and who also owns his own business: “Tech-Hermit” He lives a simple life and is a creature of habit. In short, he likes what he likes, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The day his lady friend Cass calls and informs him that she’s in danger of losing her apartment, things change in more ways than one. Th
...more
Larry H
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Does anyone create characters who are set in their ways (okay, you can call them curmudgeons) as well as Anne Tyler?

“Sometimes when he was dealing with people, he felt like he was operating one of those claw machines on a boardwalk, those shovel things where you tried to scoop up a prize but the controls were too unwieldy and you worked at too great a remove.”

Micah Mortimer is in his 40s, but he’s very particular about how his life operates. The owner of a (very) modest tech support business and
...more
Elyse  Walters
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tender, touching, and revealing....
a novel that can be gulped whole in one sitting.

Anne Tyler packs the power of authenticity — creating an honest portrayal of the trials and triumphs associated with the ordinary strands of personal identity, and family.

With a sharp sense of character and humor...
a question I thought about was....
how does one man respond to change?

Fortuitous encounters can be deceptions in disguise....
Tyler created a fictional world of the ordinary.
Her prose is deceptively sim
...more
Glenn Sumi
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of a more comforting writer than Anne Tyler. There's something reassuringly familiar about her work, which is very satisfying during a time of fear and uncertainty.

For Tyler fans (we are a loyal bunch), Micah Mortimer, the protagonist of her 23rd – TWENTY-THIRD!! – novel, might seem familiar, too. There are shades of The Accidental Tourist's Macon Leary about him, or Breathing Lessons' Ira Moran or The Amateur Marriage's Michael Anton.

He's a 40-something bachelor who's both the sup
...more
Phrynne
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020
Somehow I always feel safe when I pick up a novel by this author (and I have read a lot of them by now). I know the writing will be impeccable, the story will be low stress, and mostly it will be about interesting people and their everyday lives and relationships.

The central character in Redhead by the Side of the Road is Micah and he is one of those individuals so loved by current authors - someone who is probably somewhere on the Spectrum but who still functions in society and in fact has many
...more
Zoeytron
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Micah Mortimer, 44 years old.  Not a people person, he lives alone.  He appreciates order, takes pride in his tidiness, and his careful attention to driving is second to none.  He does not eschew women, but the years have not yielded one who is the perfect companion for him.  Getting older now, he is starting feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction with his life.  He's missing out on what would make things just right, but cannot seem to fix it. 

Just over 50 years ago, I was taking a Home Economic
...more
Nataliya
“I’ve done everything wrong,” he tells her. “I was trying to make no mistakes at all and look at where it got me.”
You can say that this is a less whimsical iteration of A Man Called Ove, and you won’t be very wrong. You can say that this is a touching story about a “narrow and limited man; so closed off”, a man who “has nothing to look forward to, nothing to daydream about”, who will eventually start to change, and you won’t be wrong. You can also say that this is basically a less sugary tha
...more
Brandice
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Redhead by the Side of the Road is Tyler’s signature style I’ve come to know and love — She makes the ordinary interesting and captures humans being human so well.

Micah Mortimer is a 44 year old with his own tech repair business and serves as the super at his apartment complex. He has a lady friend (read: girlfriend), Cass, and he likes to stick to his routine which includes running each morning and completing a designated household task every day. Micah is a simple man, kind and mostly keeping
...more
Ron Charles
Anne Tyler’s new novel, “Redhead by the Side of the Road,” is either wholly irrelevant or just what we need — or possibly both. Slight and slightly charming, it’s like the cherry Jell-O that Mom serves when you’re feeling under the weather. Not much of a meal, perhaps, but who could handle more now?

The milquetoast protagonist is Micah Mortimer, “a tall, bony man in his early forties with not-so-good posture.” He lives in a basement apartment in Baltimore, which over the course of more than 20 no
...more
Norma
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-requests
This was an absolutely wonderful and sweet little book! It is packed full of humour, an entertaining, quirky and loveable main character that is quite the powerfully moving, quiet relaxing read that gave me that warm fuzzy feeling in the end that I so love. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Mimi at Goodreads for my ARC!
Tammy
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
“Perception is reality.” I think that statement is debatable but Tyler’s novel is very much about perception and how our reality can change in a second. A middle-aged man lives his life by adhering to a strict schedule that borders on the ritualistic. An event causes him to reassess his life choices with the corresponding discomfort. Here, too, Tyler excels at taking the quotidian and turning into to something interesting. Deceptively simple, this novel is much more than sum of its parts althoug ...more
Lisa
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
There is really nothing wrong with this short novel.

It is well written, nicely flowing, carefully sketching the main character's slow, almost imperceptible path towards some bits and pieces of self-knowledge. It has no drama, and it doesn't need any either. The main character is a man who lives his life avoiding drama at almost any cost, in fact.

So the three stars are for incompatibility rather than dislike.

Micah Mortimer would not be able to stand me in the room for very long if he existed an
...more
Bkwmlee
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Anne Tyler has the unique ability to take the most mundane, ordinary of events and combine them with well-developed, relatable characters to create wonderfully nuanced stories that are both heartfelt and earnest. I love Tyler’s low-key style and the way she presents her characters always as they are — no fan fare, no big attention-grabbing event, no major earth-shattering revelation — just an ordinary character going about their every day tasks.

This time around, our protagonist is Micah Mortime
...more
Jill
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anne Tyler has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to the world, exposing us to all our foibles and strangeness and disconnections, and giving us the power to love ourselves anyway.

Witness her latest character, Micah Mortimer. Any technophobe (or anyone who has rolled his or her eyes at a relative or friend who is techno-intolerant) will chortle with recognition at this self-employed “Tech Hermit” who has authored a book titled, “First, You Plug It In.” In ways, he is not unlike Macon Leary
...more
Trudie
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-2020, odt
2.5

Anne Tyler is a much beloved and suitably awarded author but this slim character study did not set me off on the right foot with her work.

Basically, this is a mildly diverting short-story that somehow puffed itself up into a novel. I don't often find novels boring but unfortunately even while I attempted to adjust my expectations to a minor more reflective key, I was struggling to engage with this on any level. There is no doubt the Micah Mortimer, a fortyish, lonesome computer technician w
...more
Diane Barnes
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ah, Micah! Micah has a carefully orchestrated life which is going rather well at the beginning of this book. Tech Hermit by profession, fixing others computer and internet woes, handyman in his small apartment complex, living alone in his basement apartment, chugging along with his girlfriend, etc, etc. Then something happens that leads to a complete reversal of his routine and causes him to (reluctantly) reevaluate his life.

This is Anne Tyler world, which means her characters are lovable and un
...more
Ceecee
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Micah Mortimer, 44, is a creature of habit, routine and precision. He has few friends although he’s always cordial and perfectly polite to everyone. His life has stalled somewhat as he’s the super of a building, a job he does conscientiously and he runs Tech Hermit, fixing people’s computer issues. He has a girlfriend Cassia Slade but that relationship seems to be fading. When the son of a former girlfriend barrels into his life in a most unexpected way, after a great deal of puzzlement and soul ...more
Marialyce
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Do you know people who only see the world through the lenses of black and white? For them, everything is thus and so and they often find the world puzzling, disorganized, and not to their liking.

Micah Mortimer is such a person. In his world everything must be orderly, as he prefers his world to be tidy and regulated. He doesn't seem to care about fortune and although quite bright, he prefers the life of a building janitor. He even drives his car discussing his decisions with the car god. Always
...more
Hugh
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
I found this book very easy to read, well written and quite funny in a wry gentle way, so I can see why some readers like Anne Tyler so much, but for me it didn't seem that special, so I am struggling a little to understand why it was longlisted. For me the problem was that my interest in the characters was always rather limited.

It is probably no spoiler to say that the title is a little misleading, as the sentence it comes from is there to illustrate a charac
...more
Esil
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ew
Anne Tyler is such a great student of human emotions and interactions. Redhead by the Side of the Road is no exception. The story focuses on Micah, who lives by himself in a basement apartment, adhering carefully to his daily routines. He's a kind person, but somewhat rigid and not very good at understanding other people. Things start of unravel when the 18 year old son of an ex-girlfriend shows up on his doorstep. The story is a bit predictable but I really liked how Tyler depicts Micah and how ...more
Meike
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-booker, usa
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
This short, accessible novel tells the story of of Micah Mortimer, a 43-year-old handyman and tech specialist who ponders why he has failed to build a lasting relationship with a woman. Mind you, Micah is a nice, quirky guy, but he tends to be inattentive to social clues, he aims for perfection and doesn't know what he's got until it's gone. During the course of the story, he meets the son of his college girlfriend who assumes that Micah is his father, and his
...more
da AL
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a gem!!! Tyler is the master of how clueless we can all be about ourselves & each other -- & MacLeod Andrews is a master at reading this lovely novel!
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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 mem ...more

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One of the many things we love about authors is that they tend to have some of the best reading recommendations. So, as we head into our...
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“Sometimes when he was dealing with people, he felt like he was operating one of those claw machines on a boardwalk, those shovel things where you tried to scoop up a prize but the controls were too unwieldy and you worked at too great a remove.” 4 likes
“I'm a roomful of broken hearts” 3 likes
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