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[1941 - ]
If Morning Ever Comes (1964)
Ben Joe Hawkes is a worrier. Raised by his mother, grandmother, and a
flock of busy sisters, he's always felt the outsider. When he learns that
one of his sisters has left her husband, he heads for home and back into
the confusion of childhood memories and unforeseen love....
- In the small town of Larksville, the Pike family is
hopelessly out of step with the daily rhythms of life after the tragic,
accidental death of six-year-old Janie Rose. Mrs. Pike seldom speaks,
blaming herself, while Mr. Pike is forced to come out of his long,
comfortable silence. Then there is ten-year-old Simon, who is suddenly
without a baby sister -- and without understanding why she's gone.
The Tin Can Tree (1965)
Those closest to this shattered family must learn to comfort them -- and
confront their own private shadows of hidden grief. If time cannot draw
them out of the dark, then love may be their only hope....
- Evie Decker is a shy, slightly plump teenager, lonely and silent. But her
quiet life is shattered when she hears the voice of Drumstrings Casey on
the radio and becomes instantly attracted to him. She manages to meet him,
bursting out of her lonely shell--and into the attentive gaze of the
intangible man who becomes all too real....
A Slipping-Down Life (1970)
Movie (1999), Toni Kalem, director with Marshall
Bell and Tom Bower
The Clock Winder (1972)
Mrs. Pamela Evans lives a lonely new widowhood outside of
Baltimore, with only a house full of ticking clocks for company. Then she
hires eccentric Elizabeth Abbott as a handyman and both discover that
parts don't have to be a perfect match to work.
- Thirty-eight-year-old Jeremy Pauling has never left home. He lives on the
top floor of a Baltimore row house where he creates collages of little
people snipped from wrapping paper. His elderly mother putters in the
rooms below, until her death. And it is then that Jeremy is forced to take
in Mary Tell and her child as boarders. Mary is unaware of how much
courage it takes Jaremy to look her in the eye. For Jeremy, like one of
his paper creations, is fragile and easily torn--especially when he's
falling in love....
Celestial Navigation (1974)
- Duncan Peck has a fascination for randomness and is always taking
his family on the move. His wife, Justine, is a fortune teller who can't
remember the past. Her grandfather, Daniel, longs to find the brother who
walked out of his life in 1912, with nothing more than a fiddle in his
hand. All three are taking journeys that lead back to the family's deepest
roots...to a place where rebellion and acceptance have the haunting power
to merge into one....
Searching for Caleb (1975)
- Charlotte Emory has always lived a quiet, conventional life in
Clarion, Maryland. She lives as simply as possible, and one day decides to
simplify everything and leave her husband. Her last trip to the bank
throws Charlotte's life into an entirely different direction when a
restless young man in a nylon jacket takes her hostage during the
robbery--and soon the two are heading south into an unknown future, and a
most unexpected fate....
Earthly Possessions (1977)
Movie (1999), James Lapine, director with Stephen
Dorff and Susan Sarandon
Morgan's Passing (1980)
Morgan Gower works at Cullen's hardware store in north Baltimore.
He has seven daughters and a warmhearted wife, but as he journeys into the
gray area of middle age, he finds his household growing tedious. Then
Morgan meets two lovely young newlyweds under some rather extreme
circumstances--and all three discover that no one's heart is safe....
- Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not her memory. Ever
since 1944 when her husband left her, she has raised her three very
different children on her own. Now grown, they have gathered
together--with anger, with hope, and with a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling
story to tell....
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
- The story of a travel-hating writer of travel books, Macon Leafy, who
systematically avoids adventure... until he meets the frizzy-haired,
stiletto-heeled, astonishing Muriel (she's trying to train his
unmanageable Welsh corgi, Edward), who up-ends Macon's world and thrusts
him into engagement with life. Anne Tyler's most famous best seller.
The Accidental Tourist (1985) -- Winner 1985 National Book Critics Circle Award
Movie (1988), Lawrence Kasdan, director with
Kathleen Turner and William Hurt
- Maggie and Ira Moran have been married for twenty-eight years–and
it shows: in their quarrels, in their routines, in their ability to
tolerate with affection each other’s eccentricities. Maggie, a kooky,
lovable meddler and an irrepressible optimist, wants nothing more than to
fix her son’s broken marriage. Ira is infuriatingly practical, a man “who
should have married Ann Landers.” And what begins as a day trip to a
funeral becomes an adventure in the unexpected. As Maggie and Ira navigate
the riotous twists and turns, they intersect with an assorted cast of
eccentrics–and rediscover the magic of the road called life and the joy of
having somebody next to you to share the ride . . . bumps and all.
Breathing Lessons (1988) --
Movie (1994), John Erman, director with James Garner
and Joanne Woodward
Saint Maybe (1991)
In 1965, the happy Bedloe family is living an ideal, apple-pie
existence in Baltimore. Then, in the blink of an eye, a single tragic
event occurs that will transform their lives forever--particularly that of
seventeen-year-old Ian Bedloe, the youngest son, who blames himself for
the sudden "accidental" death of his older brother.
Depressed and depleted, Ian is almost crushed under the weight of an
unbearable, secret guilt. Then one crisp January evening, he catches
sight of a window with glowing yellow neon, the CHURCH OF THE SECOND
CHANCE. He enters and soon discovers that forgiveness must be earned,
through a bit of sacrifice and a lot of love...
Movie (1998), Michael Pressman, director with
Mary-Louise Parker and Thomas McCarthy
Ladder of Years (1995)
BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the
headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the
Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a
beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and
three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But
for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges,
"walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act but an impulse that
will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life. . . .
- Barnaby Gaitlin has been in trouble ever since adolescence. He had this
habit of breaking into other people's houses. It wasn't the big loot he
was after, like his teenage cohorts. It was just that he liked to read
other people's mail, pore over their family photo albums, and appropriate
a few of their precious mementos.
A Patchwork Planet (1998)
But for eleven years now, he's been working steadily for Rent-a-Back,
renting his back to old folks and shut-ins who can't move their own porch
furniture or bring the Christmas tree down from the attic. At last, his
life seems to be on an even keel.
Still, the Gaitlins (of "old" Baltimore) cannot forget the price they paid
for buying off Barnaby's former victims. And his ex-wife would just as
soon he didn't show up ever to visit their little girl, Opal. Even the
nice, steady woman (his guardian angel?) who seems to have designs on him
doesn't fully trust him, it develops, when the chips are down, and it
looks as though his world may fall apart again.
- "Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had
turned into the wrong person." So Anne Tyler opens this irresistible new
Back When We Were Grownups (2001)
The woman is Rebecca Davitch, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother. Is she
an impostor in her own life? she asks herself. Is it indeed her own life?
Or is it someone else’s?
On the surface, Beck, as she is known to the Davitch clan, is outgoing,
joyous, a natural celebrator. Giving parties is, after all, her
vocation—something she slipped into even before finishing college, when
Joe Davitch spotted her at an engagement party in his family’s crumbling
nineteenth-century Baltimore row house, where giving parties was the
family business. What caught his fancy was that she seemed to be having
such a wonderful time. Soon this large-spirited older man, a divorcé with
three little girls, swept her into his orbit, and before she knew it she
was embracing his extended family plus a child of their own, and hosting
endless parties in the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of The Open Arms.
Now, some thirty years later, after presiding over a disastrous family
picnic, Rebecca is caught un-awares by the question of who she really is.
How she answers it—how she tries to recover her girlhood self, that
dignified grownup she had once been—is the story told in this beguiling,
funny, and deeply moving novel.
Movie (2004) with Blyth Danner Faye Dunaway, Jack
Palance, Peter Fonda, and Peter Riegert
The Amateur Marriage (2003)
They seemed like the perfect couple—young, good-looking, made for each
other. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue
neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away),
walked into his mother’s grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the
heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But
they never should have married.
Pauline, impulsive, impractical, tumbles hit-or-miss through life;
Michael, plodding, cautious, judgmental, proceeds deliberately. While
other young marrieds, equally ignorant at the start, seemed to grow more
seasoned, Pauline and Michael remain amateurs. In time their foolish
quarrels take their toll. Even when they find themselves, almost thirty
years later, loving, instant parents to a little grandson named Pagan,
whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, they still cannot bridge their
deep-rooted differences. Flighty Pauline clings to the notion that the
rifts can always be patched. To the unyielding Michael, they become
From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the
counterculture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the
multilayered apparel of later years, Anne Tyler captures the evocative
nuances of everyday life during these decades with such telling precision
that every page brings smiles of recognition. Throughout, as each of the
competing voices bears witness, we are drawn ever more fully into the
complex entanglements of family life in this wise, embracing, and deeply
- In what is perhaps her richest and most deeply searching novel,
Anne Tyler gives us a story about what it is to be an American, and about
Maryam Yazdan, who after thirty-five years in this country must finally come to terms with her “outsiderness.”
Digging to America (2006)
Two families, who would otherwise never have come together, meet by chance
at the Baltimore airport—the Donaldsons, a very American couple, and the
Yazdans, Maryam’s fully assimilated son and his attractive Iranian
American wife. Each couple is awaiting the arrival of an adopted infant
daughter from Korea. After the babies from distant Asia are delivered,
Bitsy Donaldson impulsively invites the Yazdans to celebrate with an
“arrival party,” an event that is repeated every year as the two families
become more deeply intertwined.
Even independent-minded Maryam is drawn in. But only up to a point. When
she finds herself being courted by one of the Donaldson clan, a
good-hearted man of her vintage, recently widowed and still recovering
from his wife’s death, suddenly all the values she cherishes—her
traditions, her privacy, her otherness—are threatened. Somehow this big
American takes up so much space that the orderly boundaries of her life
A luminous novel brimming with subtle, funny, and tender observations that
cast a penetrating light on the American way as seen from two
perspectives, those who are born here and those who are still struggling
to fit in.
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