A Spool of Blue Thread

A Spool of Blue Thread

Large Print - 2015
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Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize

"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . ." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red's father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.

Brimming with all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler's work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.

Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, ©2015.
Edition: Large print edition., Large print edition.
ISBN: 9780804194723
Characteristics: 549 pages ;,24 cm


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Sep 25, 2017

The reference to the title comes at the very end of the book but it is clear what it stands for. The book deals with three generations of Whitshanks and their lives and the upheavals they go through. It starts with Abby and Red and the challenges they face as they age. it is nice to see their family responding and yet the problems ensuing are ones that we can all relate to. The time switching from one era to another makes for interesting reading. The characters in the book are very well sketched. as are the descriptions of the locales.

Jul 31, 2017

Anne Tyler's "Spool of Blue Thread" shouldn't be a page turner, since it's "just" a story of three generations of a family fairly calmly living their lives. Yet I read it in one sitting and mostly loved it. Tyler has a wonderful knack of describing places and people, so that you know you've been there, and know what's coming next, and who these people are. I should have been confused by the time switching, but wasn't. The opening scene, when the middle generation is in middle age, is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It tells us a lot about the child who calls to drop a verbal bomb and then hangs up, and about how each parent reacts. This generation loves each other full-heartedly, but they can fight with each other and easily make up. They have two sons (one informally adopted) and two daughters. Abby, the mother, secretly loves Denny, her youngest, the best, even while his teachers are always calling her, and later when they go months without knowing where he is or what he's up to. Red, the father, runs a construction company he inherited from his father, Junior, who always has to explain there's no Senior. Stem, the adopted youngest, works with Red, and everyone assumes he'll inherit the business. The book moves back and forth in time, to Junior and his wife Linnie Mae, ending with the enigmatic Denny. This is perhaps the third of Tyler's books I've read, and so far it's my favorite. Nobody in it's perfect (except Stem's beautiful, boring wife Nora ), but all are interesting. Reading this is like eavesdropping on your most interesting neighbors.

basilbrynn1 May 08, 2017

Story about a family with the usual ups and downs. Accurately portrayed characters but lost interest 2 thirds of the way in.

Apr 19, 2017

I liked this book. I didn't like most of the characters but then I don't think the writer did either.
She did throw in one with whom I could associate and I do thank her for that.

I've known and heard of families like the Whitshanks....one of my children married into one once. Thank god I wasn't usually invited to the gatherings.

I like Anne Tyler's writing. Sometimes one just needs a gently moving family story without murder and mahem and guns and goblins

Sep 08, 2016

This is a completely character driven book. If you are someone who wants some action in your reading, this book may not be for you. If you are someone who appreciates well developed characters, then place your hold now. This is a very nice story that unfolds gently through the everyday comings and goings of the Whitshank family. I became quite attached to this family by the end of the book. A very comforting read.

Jul 25, 2016

This was my first Anne Tyler book. I really enjoyed the dysfunctional family!

Jun 02, 2016

I did not get half way through this book. I lost interest in the first few chapters. I can not recommend it to anyone.

Jun 01, 2016

This is a throw-away book by Anne Tyler. (To clarify: DO NOT ACTUALLY THROW AWAY THE BOOK. All I mean is that this is just something she churned out because she was due for another book)

It's just yet another older white middle-class family dynamics/dysfunction story. Not any different or special from all the others on this subject.

I'm sorry to bash on a great like Anne Tyler like this, but I am just not wowed by this book. I expected better from someone with such an impressive and lengthy CV.

Jan 24, 2016

I did not like this book. Neither I recommend to anyone waiting for.
When the book is finish leaves you with a sense of emptiness.

The end is vague and without answering many questions,

Jan 06, 2016

It was a good book about dysfunctional families but Nice to see how the bad kid finally figures it out.

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Jun 02, 2016

"'There is no such things as 'too understanding'."

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