Anne Tyler

 

Searching for Caleb

 

Unlike her impressive books The Accidental Tourist and Breathing Lessons, this feels more to me like some ideas that could perhaps be incorporated into a novel. It meanders vaguely on. Granted Tyler cleverly forces us to rethink characters we may have judged dismissively by re-presenting them at an earlier or later life stage. However the ‘plot’ is very loose, meaning that the reader has to rely on characters and individual incidents to carry them along. But the central characters failed to engage my interest for any length of time (definitely not for the length of the novel), and I can only think of one scene that really stood on its own dramatically for me (when Duncan and Justine visit newlywed Meg).

 

Normally Tyler can bring humour and colour to otherwise fairly average characters, but here everything stays pretty gray, even with the eccentricities she throws in.

 

April 2003