The Clock Winder Author:Anne Tyler In her fourth and ost probing novel, Anne Tyler creates a marvelous portrait of an eccentric, fragmented Baltimore family, the Emersons, and of the girl who drifts into their lives, unaccountably manages to set things to rights (even the clocks), and - despite her free-roaming spirit - stays on, becoming inextricably involved with the whole clan... more ».
At twenty, Elizabeth Abbott seems to have no commitment other than to have no fixed destination in her life. Easy-going, imperturbable, laconic in her responses, and unquestioning anout her own impulses, she is given to finding rides from the nearest bulletin board and settling for what is offered at the end of the line. Which is precisely how she ;ands on the doorstep of the big, neglected house in Roland Park and persuades the recently widowed Mrs. Emerson that she needs a handyman.
Soon handyman Elizabeth has not only Mrs. Emerson dependent on her but two of the Emerson sons as well, men who, although they have left the fold, still shy away from the responsibilities of adulthood. Always resistant to permanancies, Elizabeth becomes more and more apprehensive as these entabglements close in on her: part of her wanting to move on elsewhere - anywhere; part of her transfixed as her magic works and holds. That is, until she makes a terrible bungle and irreparably damages another human being.« less
"The house had outlived its usefulness." is the first line of this 1972 Anne Tyler novel. Thus the house is introduced as a character in the novel in which the conflict, crisis, climax and resolution will occur. Each of the characters are brilliantly developed and once in the world of the Emersons, I never wanted to leave, just like the protagonist, Elizabeth Abbott.