Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's Goodbye: A Novel

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel about loss and recovery, pierced throughout with her humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.

Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron grew up fending off a sister who constantly wanted to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, an outspoken, independent young woman, she’s like a breath of fresh air. He marries her without hesitation, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. Aaron works at his family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead—in their house, on the roadway, in the market—help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually, Aaron discovers that maybe for this beginner there is indeed a way to say goodbye.

My thoughts:
This is an odd couple from the beginning, Aaron with his physical limitations and Dorothy with her career drive and independence.  After a short courtship the two marry and seem to spend a happy ten years together, until a tree falls into their house killing Dorothy and setting Aaron adrift.  Coming to terms with their last words to each other and the loss of his wife is compounded by the destruction to their home and leaves him adrift and wondering.  His words with authors whop are willing to pay to publish books that may be of no interest to anyone and his inability to let go.  Aaron learns how to let go and say goodbye to his wife and the life they had little by little, seeing her here and there.  This was my first Tyler book, but I must admit that I did not fully enjoy it.  It took quite awhile for me to feel like I could like Aaron, his mannerisms and way of speaking to others were a bit off putting to me, but people deal with grief differently so that may have been done purposefully.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345533357
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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