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The Beginner's Goodbye
The Beginner's Goodbye
Author: Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances--in their house, on the roadway, in the market. — Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron has spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780307957276
ISBN-10: 0307957276
Publication Date: 4/3/2012
Pages: 208
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 38

3.5 stars, based on 38 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Beginner's Goodbye on + 164 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I always love Tyler's writing - so breezy, effortless, but still sophisticated.

So I liked the writing. I also liked a lot of the book - I identified with her protagonist, Aaron, and I felt like his wife was very real. I could picture her perfectly.

But the narrative didn't feel real. This may feel like a spoiler, but it's really not, when I tell you that Aaron's dead wife appears in the book. It's not a spoiler because he says it flat out in the first sentence.

So anyway, narrative didn't feel real. Maybe she was intentionally doing an unreliable-narrator thing; if so, it didn't work with me. At the beginning of the book, he talked as if being with his wife was a constant and common occurrence, whether people were around or no. The rest of the book, his wife's appearances are furtive, brief, and people-shy. It didn't quite jell. I found myself wondering where in the narrative the scenes described in the first pages could have occurred - they didn't seem like they would fit in any part of the grieving process.

Also, and maybe this is a nitpick, but men just don't describe clothes at length, or nearly as specifically, as Tyler does. She does it in every book. In a first-person book with a male narrator, it's just got to get cut out. No man talks about the way a sweater gathers at the collar, or goes on about pencil-skirts and how often a particular woman wears that one.
reviewed The Beginner's Goodbye on + 817 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I'd forgotten just how much I love Tyler's quirky characters! This book made me laugh out loud and moved me to tears. It's a delight to be privy to this protagonist's thoughts on everything from his co-workers to marriage to "workmen who persist in saying 'Mr.' even after you've told them not to." My only complaint is that at 198 pages, it was over much too soon.
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