- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (17 Sept. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099201410
- ISBN-13: 978-0099201410
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Breathing Lessons Paperback – 17 Sep 1992
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"A work of art" (Guardian)
"Her finest novel" (Irish Times)
"A novel by Anne Tyler is a subject for rejoicing...Breathing Lessons is a pleasure" (The Times)
"Anne Tyler has a real gift for generating tender and amazing moments" (Independent)
"Displays her extraordinary gifts in supreme harmony: exquisite narrative clarity, faultless comic timing, and the Tyler trademark of happy-sad characters inspiring a mid-American domestic drama that somehow slips the surly bonds of the quotidian to become timeless and universal" (Guardian, Best 100 Novels of all time)
From the Pulitzer prize-winning Sunday Times bestseller Anne Tyler. Breathing Lessons is now re-jacketed along with the rest of Tyler’s books in striking new backlist styleSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Not the storyline for many laughs, though there is humour because it's Anne Tyler, but it isn't meant to be a happy book. It looks at how satisfied people are with their own lives and the lives of their family. Maggie feels her husband Ira thinks she is fat and worthless, clearly how she perceives herself, that her daughter Daisy can't wait to leave her `ordinary' mother and her son whose wife walked out on him with their daughter feels much the same. On the journey and on the way back Maggie's journey takes several surprising detours, mainly through Maggie's interfering. Through these detours Anne shows us Maggie's family past and why she is in the state she is in, you never hear about her childhood much, a mystery I thought might have solved many questions to her deeper personality.
With Maggie's endless interfering and severe swaying of the truth it did leave you feeling you were seeing life through slightly unreliable eyes. The dialogue both external and internal is fantastic. I found the writing sparse, I have to admit I was shocked Ira and Maggie were still married and the rare signs of closeness and emotional contact between the two of them somehow felt false.Read more ›
Tyler begins by setting up a scenario - one that is bound to cause acute stress - and then piling on extra to take it to an extreme pitch. In doing so, it teeters between tragedy, futility and comedy.
It begins with collecting the car from the garage the day of a long drive to the funeral of her oldest friend's husband. It immediately adds an overheard radio talk in that `tells' Maggie that her estranged daughter in law is about to marry another man; followed in a few seconds by a prang with the car; followed by a stressful drive in which you wonder how her husband Ira copes with her; a row that almost busts a decades-long marriage (but they are always doing that); and a funeral as bad amateur dramatics and sing-along. The black observation is piled on - why stop? But perhaps the point is that Ira and Maggie are always living at this extreme of bickering followed by closeness, and maybe Maggie does shift from crisis to crisis as she tries to put the world right, and Ira bickers back and tries to be the sensible grounded one.
This is a turning point in their lives. It is not simply that the funeral at too young an age is a reminder of everyone's mortality and of the passing of youthful aspirations.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the most boring book I have ever read. It took me months to finish it. I kept persevering because it had won a Pulitzer Prize & I kept thinking that it had to get better... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Yes this book deserves 5 stars. Maggie, Ira and their family and friends are wonderful and believable characters. Maggie is always seeking a 'happy ending and Ira has his realism. Read morePublished 3 months ago by clareo
Another finely wrought story packed with simple observations and emotional realismPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It’s been a number of years since I read anything by Anne Tyler. I chose this book after reading a Guardian book list where Breathing Lessons was placed at No. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jools01
Love Ann Tyler novels .She brings her characters alive and explores the minutiae of every day life.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer