Tyler's story encompasses three generations of the Whitshank family, wandering back and forth over 7 decades of the 20th century. “A Spool of Blue Thread”, is Anne Tyler’s 20th novel. It also happens to be the first novel of hers I’ve ever read. I wanted to use my unfamiliarity with Tyler as an asset.
This intimate portrait of middle-class life stumbles heavily on clichés. Some would say the author writes with witty economy of words I would say she is long winded. “A Spool of Blue Thread” walks a thin line between moving and the banal. The style has a warm and lucid prose but verges on the sentimental or cloying. We have traumatic episodes from the past detonated at intervals but the impact is muffled by a very calm narrative. The family life is told by its members in multiple versions of reality past and present. This novel is definitely character driven and very homey. We have a plot zooming on parents, their relationship with their children and grand-children, their house neighborhood and friends. Although a lot consists of logistics undoubtedly true, it is not especially thrilling to read about.
I found this novel very wobbly. I had a hard time staying focussed all through its 350 pages or so. Some also say tads of humour lay between the lines, I never saw this at all. Definitely I lack any sense of humour. Maybe I am on the left field with my views since most people love Ms. Tyler books immensely. Again I am part of an exceptional group of none fans…..
By now you may sense I wasn’t too thrilled with this book and you would be right. Of course this is my opinion only and is to be taken with a grain of salt. In no way do I want to offend any friends or readers in not sharing positive thoughts on this book. Reading a story may resonate for someone in a personal or emotional way. This story definitely will do this.
“A Spool of Blue Thread” has not provided the kind of story I enjoyed. (my lost)