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Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant [Paperback]

Anne Tyler
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Sep 1992
Through every family run memories which bind it together - despite everything. The Tulls of Baltimore are no exception. Abandoned by her salesman husband, Pearl is left to bring up her three children alone - Cody, a flawed devil, Ezra, a flawed saint, and Jenny, errant and passionate. Now as Pearl lies dying, stiffly encased in her pride and solitude, the past is unlocked and with it, secrets.

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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 Sep 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 (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,480 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.

Product Description


"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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel of family dynamics 15 Dec 2002
By Sally Zigmond VINE VOICE
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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Center of the Family 14 Nov 2002
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, gentle read 19 April 2012
By Reddy
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 13 Dec 1998
By A Customer
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tear-jerker! 21 Jan 2009
By Lukal8
This is one of my favorite Anne Tyler novels along with An Amateur Marriage, Ladder of Years and The Digging to America. It's powerfully realistic, sentimental, and sad, yet so appealingly familiar and ultimately an absorbing read. Highly recommended for anyone!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By C. Vo
As with most Anne Tyler's books, you never really know for sure where the plot is going to, but you don't really care, as you would probably be enjoying all the details, all the minute and insightful observations, and all the complexities of her characters' inner thoughts. She manages to make you empathise with them all, even the father who left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only remembering the bad things 13 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This novel is certainly more animated than some of her newer productions, indeed it is a sparkling, hard-to-put-down read from beginning to end. Admittedly an encapsulation of the plot wouldn't endear you much to it - a deserted mother brings up three children who all grow up and live lives through which a fault-line seems to run - but the story turns out to be gripping and compulsive to a high degree.

Much of this is because of the wonderfully strong characterisation - always a strong point with Anne Tyler's work. Cody the eldest boy is anxious and scheming, always in the shade of his loving, good-natured brother Ezra, who is his mother's favourite. Jenny, the only girl is intelligent but needy and although she becomes a doctor she is prey to a lack of self-confidence. Cody remembers only the bad things about growing up with a lone mother - who is by turns indulgent and strict - whereas Ezra always tries to put a positive slant on their shared childhood. Pearl, their mother, has always felt herself to be the outsider in any situation and she preserves her children's separation from the mass of humanity, sometimes at the expense of their future well-being. Their father, a travelling salesman, disappears early from their life and they both do, and do not, feel his lack. Their own marriages are not especially successful and Ezra, in fact, never marries. It is Ezra who runs the Homesick Restaurant, and it is he who always tries to pull the family together, rebuffed on - almost - every occasion.

Very occasionally Anne Tyler writes a line that seems as if more thought should have gone into it - but these are momentary puzzles in what for the most part reads smoothly and assuredly, shining with the knowledge that these people are as real as any you might meet in the street. This book is an absolute pleasure to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
What a boring miserable book
Published 1 month ago by joan foster
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Well return but not terribly inspiring - in did nt much care for any of the damaged characters
Published 1 month ago by maggi digby
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Anne Tyler's favourite of her novels.
Published 2 months ago by pippa jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad and wistful and wonderful
I read this in no time, it was so enjoyable. It's a really well written, thoughtful book about family and memory, with a vivid cast of characters. Would definitely recommend.
Published 3 months ago by Ms J L Whitehead
2.0 out of 5 stars I loved a couple of her other books but found this ...
I loved a couple of her other books but found this was rather depressing and dark. I wasn't interested enough in the people to be bothered to read it all. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R E E Malcolm
2.0 out of 5 stars Wholly Negative
This picture of family life on the margin of poverty and getting by has no positive signs of family solidarity or happiness. or character in individuals. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bernard Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Good though not her best
Very Anne Tyler - inter-generational, somewhat dysfunctional, Baltimore family saga, fine characterisation, and making good entertainment from what might seem unpromising subject... Read more
Published 8 months ago by oldhasbeen
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time !
One word sums up this book - boring. I found it tedious. The characters in it are unreal and do not come 'alive'. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lawrence Foye
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Study of a Family
On her death bed, Pearl Tull reflects back on her life and her family. Her narrative is interspersed with the story from the perspective of each of her three children, Cody, Ezra... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Calypso
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Found it very cathartic and the characters stayed with me for many weeks afterwards. If fact, I found I thought about it more after I read it than during
Published 9 months ago by Mrs V L Pooley
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