The Accidental Tourist Author:Anne Tyler Macon Leary is a travel writer who hates both travel and anything out of the ordinary. He is grounded by loneliness and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts when he meets Muriel, a deliciously peculiar dog-obedience trainer who up-ends Macons insular worldand thrusts him headlong into a remarkable engagement with life.
A funny, well-written book, Accidental Tourist describes characters who are each on the verge of stereotypes, moving in and out of personality ruts. The reader is sure to recognize traits in himself and in people he knows. Many of the characters are uncomfortably familiar, but just when you're sure you know someone's "type," the author gently offers the possiblity of at least minor transformation.
Macon is someone who himself travels through life accidentally. Things just happen to him-he doesn't seek them out. His only child has been killed in a senseless accideent; his wife for no apparent reason asks for a separation, leaving him to fend for himself;a broken leg conveniently thrusts him back home with his sister and brothers in the family house where he started out. Surely it is an accident that he gets involved with the astonishing Muriel, the frizzy haired, stiletto heeled, nonstop talker who does the bookings at the kennels where Macon boards his unmanageable Welsh corgi, Edward, when he has to go on one of his fact finding trips. But gradually what seems like accident is tinged with purpose, and the comfortably familiar is disturbed by the impulse toward escape.
I started out lukewarm with the book because I found the main character so stuffy and unrelatable to me, but as the book continued, I found Macon Leary less annoying than endearing, less stuffy than quirky. I enjoyed the story.