…”A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler. (Disclosure: Back in the 1970’s Tyler gave a short story of mine an Honorable Mention in a contest she was judging and, 20 years later, when I gave a reading of “Fully Armed” at Barnes & Noble it gave me a tote bag with her picture on it, in which I carry my work out clothes still.)
Anyway, way back when, I read and enjoyed several of Tyler’s novels. (“Celestial Navigations” was, I think, my favorite, but that may have been because I read it first and they all had a certain similarity.) But for reasons I don’t recall, I stopped reading her, and Adele, who continued on after I stopped, soon stopped reading her too. But Tyler kept writing, adding another dozen or so novels to her credit.
I came across “Spool” on the free shelf at Berkeley Espresso (and left Michael Chabon’s “Telegraph Avenue,” a pick-up of Adele’s, in exchange). We both enjoyed it. Tyler is still in Baltimore and still writing about families, but no character is as whacky as the ones I recall her featuring in the past. These all seem normalish folks with normalish problems tripping them up. It is funny and serious and becomes inventive toward the end. It’s a fine way to pass several hours.