Digging to America Author:Anne Tyler Tyler (Breathing Lessons) encompasses the collision of cultures without losing her sharp focus on the daily dramas of modern family life in her 17th novel. — When Bitsy and Brad Donaldson and Sami and Ziba Yazdan both adopt Korean infant girls, their chance encounter at the Baltimore airport the day their daughters arrive marks the start of a lon... more »g, intense if sometimes awkward friendship. Sami's mother, Maryam Yazdan, who carefully preserves her exotic "outsiderness" despite having emigrated from Iran almost 40 years earlier, is frequently perplexed by her son and daughter-in-law's ongoing relationship with the loud, opinionated, unapologetically American Donaldsons.
When Bitsy's recently widowed father, Dave, endearingly falls in love with Maryam, she must come to terms with what it means to be part of a culture and a country. Stretching from the babies' arrival in 1997 until 2004, the novel is punctuated by each year's Arrival Party, a tradition manufactured and comically upheld by Bitsy; the annual festivities gradually reveal the families' evolving connections. Though the novel's perspective shifts among characters, Maryam is at the narrative and emotional heart of the touching, humorous story, as she reluctantly realizes that there may be a place in her heart for new friends, new loves and her new country after all.« less
I usually enjoy a good book about clashing cultures and complex human relationships, but this book just didn't do much for me at all. I was annoyed by the cultural stereotypes and frustrated by the lack of focus on any one particular character. I had to force myself to finish, not a very satisfying read.
Masterfully written tale of what it means to be American -- the author really gets into the heads of her characters and we feel their joy, pain, & anxiety. Parents who have adopted children, especially from foreign nations, will relate particularly well, as will anyone who has emigrated from another nation to live in the U.S. A surprisingly fast read.
As a person who was adopted from Korea as an infant, I eagerly anticipated this book. Unfortunately, I did not find much to relate to. The adopted Korean daughters were the only well-adjusted characters. The story instead focused on their parents and grandparents, who I found to be irritating and unlikeable. I have not read any of Anne Tyler's books, but if they are all like this one I will give them a pass!
While this is not my favorite book by Tyler, it still retained her wonderful signature style. The vivid portrait she paints of both American families and immigrant-American families will keep you interested.