Book Review: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler


A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Vintage Digital (ebook), 2015
368 Pages

Author Page (Wikipedia)

Amazon (UK)

I got a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’

This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.

And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself.

From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere – the essential nature of family life.

LATE ONE JULY evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny. They were getting ready for bed at the time. Abby was standing at the bureau in her slip, drawing hairpins one by one from her scattery sand-coloured topknot. Red, a dark, gaunt man in striped pyjama bottoms and a white T-shirt, had just sad down on the edge of the bed to take his socks off; so when the phone rang on the nightstand beside him, he was the one who answered. ‘Whitshank residence’ he said.

This is my first time reading the author.

I loved A Spool of Blue Thread. Complex family sagas are one of my favourite types of books to get lost in. Tyler’s writing style reminds me a lot of one of my favourite writers, Joyce Carol Oates. Both writers make great characters and brilliant descriptions an art form. The characters in Tyler’s novel are all interesting and well-written. I loved Red and Abby. I loved the way the novel is structured and the way Tyler uses time shifts to paint a vivid picture of the life and times of the Whitshanks. A Spool of Blue Thread is full of wonderful descriptions of life, love and family. I enjoyed every page. I definitely want to read more of this author.

I’d highly recommend A Spool of Blue Thread.




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