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Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant Paperback – 17 Sep 1992


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Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant + The Accidental Tourist + Breathing Lessons
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (17 Sept. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099916401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099916406
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons and other bestselling novels, including The Accidental Tourist, Saint Maybe, Ladder of Years, A Patchwork Planet, Back When We Were Grownups, The Amateur Marriage and Digging to America. In 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'. Anne Tyler lives in Baltimore where her novels are set.

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Review

"Excellently done; the minutiae of domestic landscapes, the lunatic irrationality of family quarrels, the torments of sibling rivalry" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Funny, heart-hammering, wise...superb entertainment" (New York Times Book Review)

"A terrific writer... She's changed my perception on life" (Anna Chancellor)

"A classic of contemporary Americana... variously funny and horrifying and finally, quietly, terribly moving" (Los Angeles Times)

"A book that should join those few that every literate person will have to read" (Boston Globe)

Book Description

A classic novel from one of America's greatest living novelists.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Sally Zigmond VINE VOICE on 15 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pearl Tull is dying. As she slips into unconciousness she thinks about her struggle to raise her two sons, Cody and Ezra and her daughter Jenny after her husband walked out on her when they were very young. Now grown up, her children, however, see their childhood quite differently. As family events are told from their varying viewpoints, a complex story of hurt, jealousy, resentment and disappointment arises.
I have never yet read an Ann Tyler novel that disappoints and this is no exception. In her easy style she brilliantly exposes the reality beneath the outer skin. Her characters are so real, you can almost touch them. Sometimes you want to hug them; at other times you want to wring their necks!
Was Pearl a good mother? The answer, as in all Ann Tyler's novels, is yes and no. She did what she thought was best in the circumstances. And is this family any happier or more damaged than any other? The answer again is more complex than any other novel I have read. But this is not a heavy read. It is witty, funny, but above all, true. Wonderful.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Eric Anderson on 14 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a delicate loving piece of fiction. What is harder in life than to try to understand the perspective of the other people in our family? Anne Tyler gives us an intimate look at each of the family member's thoughts and from this we draw a large picture of a complex set of family relations. Where else does a family join together but the dinner table? It is a spot of joyous reunions and a catalyst for causing severe fractures, but it is a place where every person in the family ultimately returns. By placing this at the center of her tale she is able to jump of on all the character's many stories. This novel makes you reconsider the point of view of people in your family you might have given up on. Your sympathy always goes with Ezra, forever trying to hold the family together. But you also learn to see the perspective of the other members through hearing small poignant details of their lives from Pearl's apple apple apple to the devastating reunion and confrontation with the missing father at the end. Their actions aren't just quirky details, but strong philosophies by which they live and rich points of difference that cause friction in their relations. This is handled with tremendous sympathy and understanding by the author. Anyone who has had strained relations with members of their family will be able to relate to this book and be wildly entertained by its twists and turns.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reddy on 19 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Have just re-read this after nearly twenty years - I'm sure I enjoyed it the first time but it's definitely a book that improves with age (of the reader). It's about family; the things that pull people apart and the ties that still hold them tenuously together.
Strong-minded, single mother, Pearl Tull, and her children - Cody, Ezra and Jenny, meet infrequently over the years at Ezra's 'Homesick' restaurant but their meals aren't joyful family reunions and as differences come to a head there's always an argument or upset of some kind.
Tyler tells the story from the perspectives of Pearl, her children and later, grandchildren, so no-one's point of view is ever presented as right - there are no bad characters, simply sympathetic people who see things in their own way.
Even Beck, Pearl's runaway husband, whose character is defined by his absence from the family is ultimately allowed his own say on the family and his life.
Along with The Accidental Tourist, this is one of my favourite Anne Tyler novels. Her books are neither too long or too short, the stories are told with a wry humour and she has an emotional intelligence that enables the reader to see her characters as real, complex personalities.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
A travelling salesman announces to his wife that he is not coming home. Ever. She then proceeds to raise their three children with ferocious energy, suppressing her own fading dreams in the hope that the family she creates will be the central joy in her life. Clever and unfailingly stubborn by nature, she is a fascinating character - one moment lovable and caring, the next a formidable tyrant. This book is a small epic tracing the devlopment through two generations of a troubled small town American family. Tyler's characters are alive and portrayed with remarkable sensitivity. Very moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Book 1981 on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the story of a family growing up in Baltimore, centred around the matriarch, Pearl Tull. Pearl is a complicated, angry woman, possessive of her three children at the same time as being fiercely independent. We watch as Pearl lies dying and the family secrets start spilling into the light.

Cody, Ezra and Jenny grow up under the prickly gaze of their mother after their father suddenly decides to leave and never come back. Pearl buries the abandonment with stoic denial, and the kids slowly grow up in to adults - whether they are blessed or cursed by their luck in parents is open to discussion.

This is a melancholy story of family dynamics, abandonment, resentment, disappointment, sibling rivalry and unanswered questions. I really enjoyed it, finding its subtle, slow narrative both emotionally sophisticated and sharp. It's the story of an average family, and as such it is easy to identify with - There is an instant empathy with the touchingly scattered, drifting members of the Tull clan.

The intricacies of family relationships are impossibly complicated, but Taylor's book hits the mark repeatedly, somehow translating something vague and nuanced into something readable and interesting. Don't expect whirlwinds and rollercoasters - in fact, don't even expect neat endings to most of the loose threads - but expect a privileged and sensitive look into the home of a turbulent family, and expect to find many things which produce an eery feeling of familiarity.
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