Perhaps it was the book cover with its brilliant blue spool of thread. Perhaps it was the mixed reviews. But there’s something magnetic about an Anne Tyler novel. They are stories with characters that could be your neighbors, or your family. They are solid tales about the everyday dramas of life unfolded in a frank and wry manner that is the essence of Tyler’s writing style.
In Anne Tyler’s latest novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, we are introduced to the Witshank family, Abby and Red and their grown children. But the subtle, yet true star of the novel is their house—a “well-built, homey, and unpretentious” house in Baltimore with a wraparound porch, that was built for a wealthy client by Red’s contractor father. Over the years the house is well-maintained and becomes the center of the Whitshank’s family life across the generations. It was, as Tyler writes, “a house you might see pictured on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, plain-faced and comfortable, with the Stars and Stripes, perhaps, flying out front and a lemonade stand at the curb.”
I will admit that A Spool of Blue Thread was a sleeper for me until I was well into disc five of an eleven-disc audiobook. But Tyler’s writing style is so colorful and precise, I wanted to finish the novel so I could absorb each and every word. And the blue thread? There are bits and pieces of the color throughout the novel, and is perhaps used by Tyler to weave that spool of thread throughout her story. “It was the prettiest afternoon, all breezy and yellow-green with a sky the unreal blue of a Noxzema jar.”
I give it 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 for its sincerity, and the lovely shade of blue.