A Patchwork Planet Author:Anne Tyler In this, her fourteenth novel--and one of her most endearing--Anne Tyler tells the story of a lovable loser who's trying to get his life in order. — Barnaby Gaitlin has been in trouble ever since adolescence. He had this habit of breaking into other people's houses. It wasn't the big loot he was after, like his teenage cohorts. It was... more » just that he liked to read other people's mail, pore over their family photo albums, and appropriate a few of their precious mementos.
But for eleven years now, he's been working steadily for Rent-a-Back, renting his back to old folks and shut-ins who can't move their own porch furniture or bring the Christmas tree down from the attic. At last, his life seems to be on an even keel.
Still, the Gaitlins (of "old" Baltimore) cannot forget the price they paid for buying off Barnaby's former victims. And his ex-wife would just as soon he didn't show up ever to visit their little girl, Opal. Even the nice, steady woman (his guardian angel?) who seems to have designs on him doesn't fully trust him, it develops, when the chips are down, and it looks as though his world may fall apart again.
There is no one like Anne Tyler, with her sharp, funny, tender perceptions about how human beings navigate on a puzzling planet, and she keeps us enthralled from start to finish in this delicious new novel.« less
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Anything by Anne Tyler is irresistible reading. One gets caught up in her elegant phrasing, so unusual with today's faster-paced style. Her heroes live on the edge of main stream America, caught up in daily struggles familiar to us all--often chaotic and character revealing. This novel is about 30-year-old misfit Barnaby Gaitlin, "a renegade who is actually a kind-hearted man struggling to find his place in the world."
There are times you may say to yourself "WHY am I reading this book?", but stick with it, it's excellent. Just getting to know this extraordinary, yet ordinary guy...from a rich, yet poor family, doing something so sweet he doesn't even realize it... but it all works out and then some.
The story of a lovable loser who's trying to get his life in order. I don't identify enough with lovable losers - especially men - and especially those who used to break into houses - to really feel pulled into this story. But I love Anne Tyler's writing and if anyone could make me care about a guy with a history like that, it would be her. And so I enjoyed it, and pulled for the guy to make it to a better place...
Barnaby Gaitlin is just trying to get his life in order. But he has a habit of breaking into other people's houses so he can read their mail and gather one or two momentos. Anne Tyler has a knack for creating memorable,loveable, yet flawed characters and this book is no exception. I hope you like it as much as I do.
An enjoyable read. Ann Tyler masterfully weaves believable, realistic characters, an unusual setting, and arouses the readers curiosity. I found it to be a captivating story that holds interest. Well done.
Anything by Anne Tyler is a treat. The hero of this novel is a young adult who, according to his parents and ex-wife has no goals and aspirations, but somehow manages to touch the lives of the elderly people who are his clients. One of my favorite fictional characters.
I've had this book a long time, I'm a fan of Anne Tyler and her silly word play, but I think I put off reading this as I don't like the title. The story is cute, Barnaby Gaitlin is the black sheep of his well to do family, he was a juvenile delinquent and is now underachieving in his mid-30s (living in somebody's basement and providing manual labor for a small operation called Rent A Back).
The phrase patchwork planet refers to an ugly quilt design created by a favorite client, it only comes up once and briefly and I don't really get why it's the title of the book. Maybe Barnaby's mind operates in a somewhat patchwork-y fashion? I love his snarky "Old Baltimore" family, and identify with his older, managerial girlfriend Sophia.
Wonderful characters and their relationships. Family conflicts and remaking meaningful connections, self-discovery and redemptions are the strengths of Anne Tyler that make me return again and again to enjoy her novels.
It was an interesting story, kept my attention until the end, but very unsatisfying and often irritating.
I had trouble liking the protagonist all the way through. There were times I could feel sympathetic toward him, and other times when I was angry with him. And the ending was really loose. Do Barnaby and Sophia work out their differences? Do Barnaby and his mother finally get along?