I appreciate good food, especially when someone else is cooking. I love to savor the rich, subtle flavors in French cuisine and the taste bud thrilling bursts of spice and sweetness from Thai food. I enjoy the mysteriousness of tastes from other countries, but sometimes (especially if I'm cooking) I just want good old comfort food--cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes; stroganoff, goulash and butternut squash soup--warm and heavy and soothing.
It's the same with books. I love a good thriller or a mystery or history. I enjoy reading books about other cultures and peoples. I like the cerebral novel that makes me think. But sometimes I really just want good old comfort books. For this I regularly turn to Anne Tyler.
Anne Tyler's novels have a calming effect on me. Every word is soothing and compulsively readable. She writes stories about normal people, dealing with normal life events and provides amazing insights into their souls and very nature. Even in The Beginner's Goodbye, a ghost story, Tyler's story isn't melodramatic or ostentatious--She writes simply of a husband dealing with the grief and healing after the death of his wife, though his wife assists him and helps him realize that there is life after death. He can still have a life after her death.
When Utah Dad and I were first married we used to play a game when we were driving in town. When we saw someone, maybe a student crossing the street toward school or a young father holding hands with his son, we would make up a story about them. It seems that Anne Tyler does this very thing. Her characters could come right out of the grocery store or farmer's market, as the case may be. They are so real, so believable, so honest, so fallible and often so inspiring.
The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's newest novel. It will be published in April of this year. Fans of Anne Tyler will be pleased. And those who have never wrapped up in a warm blanket, savored a cup of hot cocoa and enjoyed one of Anne Tyler's novel should experience the pleasure that is The Beginner's Goodbye.
** I received a complimentary copy of The Beginner's Goodbye in exchange for my honest opinion. **