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The Accidental Tourist

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  92,336 ratings  ·  2,144 reviews
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-ends Macon’s insular world–and thrusts him headlong into a remarkable engagement with life.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published August 12th 1985)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  92,336 ratings  ·  2,144 reviews

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Oct 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Joe Valdez
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Love is in the air--or maybe anxiously repressed--in February and my romantic literature jag concludes with The Accidental Tourist, the 1985 novel by Anne Tyler and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction that year. Like all of my reads in the shortest month of the year, this was my introduction to the author and I found much of Tyler's story to be an absolute delight. This is a novel by and for mature adults that finds a wonderful balance between the melancholy of losing a ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Accidental tourists are pretty 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 & 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... & the novel feels ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
Julie and Joe talk about Anne Tyler (and Larry McMurtry) as a writer who "accurately communicates my desire to read and write about the two things that mean the most to me in this life: heart and groin." Which, Julie, lol, "groin," that's right there with "moist" on the list of Words That Could Technically Be About Sex But Will Kill The Mood Right Dead.

oh yes baby
is your groin moist right now

what were we talking about? Right, this person whom I've never read but now she's going on the list.

Anne Bogel
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read Anne Tyler for years, and when podcast guest Rebecca Smith (Jane Austen's 5x great niece) said she thought Tyler should be recommended reading for Jane Austen fans, I finally took the plunge. This was an enjoyable read that wasn't anything like I expected, and was relatable in surprising ways. Now I want to read more Anne Tyler, of course. (The question is: which one?)
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Stephen Gallup
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love Anne Tyler and this book was, per usual, a great read.

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
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.
Kristie Hevener Cross
Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Macon Leary is infuriatingly by the book. He writes guidebooks for business travelers so they can avoid any unexpected roadblocks or disturbances. Everything in his life has an order, until a shooting at a burger joint takes the life of his twelve year old son. This disrupts his marriage and life as he knows it, with his wife Sarah ultimately leaving him. When he encounters Muriel, a dog trainer who works at his dog's kennel, he learns to embrace the new and exciting things in life.

As always,
Jun 04, 2007 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 ...more
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it

This book was a solid 3 stars. The ending edged it up to 3.5. It was the only ending I would have been satisfied with. I liked the story line more than the characters. The story was about hanging on, letting go, and recognizing what is right in front of you before it was too late. I enjoyed that part of it. The characters, however, were a little too bizarre. They were a little crazy. Sometimes a sane person helps to anchor the story, at least in my mind. So 3 stars.
So far this is defiantly my least favourite of Tyler's books.

Surprisingly so, since at the beginning i really enjoyed how... lets call it specific the main character is.

I love that we clearly have this character that loves order, routines and everything exactly as he wants it for no other reason other than that it makes him feel better to have it that way.

And of course its Tyler's fantastic writing.

But the actual plot, the other characters and even the main character started to go on my
Robert Palmer
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, family, love
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
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
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
Nita Kohli
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I began reading this book, I was not sure if I will really like it. But, then it was a book from Anne Tyler so I continued on because she is one of the authors I am a big fan of. She is my go to author when I dont know what to read or when I am feeling low and I find her books feel-good-books.
Thank God that my faith in Anne Tyler made me not give up this book early on because I simply loved this book. This book was, to put it simply, beautiful. I just loved it...wait did I say that
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: maryland
I am ridiculously humbled by Anne Tyler's ability to crawl into the dark spaces, observe them, and report her findings with humor and grace.

Few writers could so fearlessly follow the aftermath of a parent's worst nightmare and the resulting destruction of a marriage.

And, fewer still could explore such horrors without drowning her readers in despair.

But, it has become obvious to me that Ms. Tyler has not the gratuitous in mind. She offers up life, as she so observantly sees it, but she kindly
Robert Sheard
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reread from many years ago. I've read maybe half a dozen of Anne Tyler's books over the years, and I think this is my favorite. I still don't know how I feel about the ending, but the lack of certainty, I think, is part of the story's appeal. Life is messy. And sometimes, letting decisions happen to us instead of us making them ourselves is all too easy.
Mar 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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.

Nina Vandewater
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I started reading Anne Tyler in the 70s and haven't stopped. I generally like her older fiction better with the more quirky characters and the richer text. The Accidental Tourist is still my favorite book because of the theme of potential for renewal of life after tragedy and that, as we all know, life is about unpredictability, no matter how predictable Macon and his brothers and sisters try to make it. I love the characters, the humor, Tyler's flawless style, and, as a Welsh Corgi owner, I ...more
3.5 stars. Anne Tyler is brilliant. Her prose and use of dialogue is exquisite. Her characters are genuinely flawed and complex. The only reason I'm rounding this down to 3 stars instead of up to 4 is that I personally related to the characters in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant a whole lot more than this one. It's not that this book is any 'weaker' in construction, subject or tone, but that I simply 'liked' Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant more. Maybe this is just because I read that one ...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
“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.” 309 likes
“It is not how much you love someone, but who you are when you are with him.” 74 likes
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