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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and an excellent read.
This is a gentle, thought-provoking novel which stays with you after you have finished, in a dream-like way. Like many of the other reviewers here this was my first Anne Tyler novel, and I rushed and bought another one as soon as I had finished. It drew me in, and cut to the heart of the matter. To be able to lift the mundane into the remarkable is a talent which...
Published on 9 Jun 2000

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought with hope - Kind of a depressing read
This book did not settle well with me. It tried to be light hearted at times, a lot of moaning from the main character almost to the point of making me angry, however, once the book progressed it did improve somewhat. Good ending. But, wouldn't read again.
Published 14 months ago by Luann Cross


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and an excellent read., 9 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
This is a gentle, thought-provoking novel which stays with you after you have finished, in a dream-like way. Like many of the other reviewers here this was my first Anne Tyler novel, and I rushed and bought another one as soon as I had finished. It drew me in, and cut to the heart of the matter. To be able to lift the mundane into the remarkable is a talent which breathes life into everything. It was so realistic and although at times sad and even tragic, it made me look again at this amazing thing called ordinary life.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read but not her best, 20 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
Yet again Anne Tyler delivers a great book. The characters she paints appear to be so strange that at first you think that no-one on earth like this could exist. But She gives them so much description that we start seeing bits of ourselves in them. The book I would recommend first time readers to start with is The Clock Winder - the stubborn old woman, the girl who never turns down an invitation and the two brothers who fall in love with her.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It needs a sequel, 19 Feb 2003
By 
P. Wilson (Barnard Castle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
It is not often that I can read on an airplane but this dense novel kept me fully absorbed as we crossed Greenland. I found Barnaby a bit too good and managed to forgive his youthful wickedness too easily. But Sophia and Martine, what a choice and what tension I found in the choosing. The unpleasant characters are interesting and you can find sympathy even with the social climbing mother and lazy co worker. Anne Tyler is an author whose characters are so well drawn that every move they make, even when unexpected, are consistent with their creation. I loved the novel and rated it with Tyler's best.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Anne Tyler, 5 Aug 2006
By 
vivsy (rural hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
Anne Tyler's characters often stay with me long after I've finished the book. This one's no exception.

Barnaby Gaitlin is a young man who has yet to make something of his life. In fact he never will. He has reached thirty without having graduated from college and his marriage is over. He does a good job for his employer, 'Rent a back', helping quirly old people do things around the home. The analysis of these elderly customers is part of the strength of the book, perhaps more so than the analysis of Barnaby's own character that seems incongruously drawn at times.

He really needs a good woman to take him in hand and get him on the right track as his heart is in the right place. He is not interested in stealing from the fragile people he helps, unlike his colleagues. However, it is obvious he has a self-destruct button and he will never allow things to work out well.

With Anne Tyler books it is often the storytelling rather than a gripping plotline that gives it page turnability, so as usual I was hoping for a more conclusive ending. There are too a few loose ends left untied at the end. However, the analysis of human relationships makes it a really good read and gives to plenty to 'chew on' after you have finished the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Patchwork of simple truths, 7 Aug 2009
By 
reader 451 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
A Patchwork Planet doesn't draw the reader in with heart-pulsing action, or great tension. This is a novel of emotional conundrums, of everyday life. It deals with the nature of ambition, showing how recognition and private achievement are two different things. It deals with self as a social product versus self as the embodiment of choices. It also is a coming-of-age story of a kind.

Its (anti-)hero is Barnaby Gaitlin, an ex reform-school pupil, divorced at the age of twenty-nine, penniless, and a rebel to his conventional, well-to-do family. Barnaby is stuck between what he knows is the right path: finding fulfilment in his low-paid job helping old people with odd jobs, being himself with his kid daughter, looking for a partner who respects him - and what is expected of him: superficial success, money, falling in line with parental bigotry. Two women, after a few twists, come to represent these alternatives: the outwardly perfect, angelic Sophia and the moodier Martine. Though Barnaby isn't a character one necessarily identifies with, Tyler's feat is to make us accept his chosen course as right. Modesty matters, she says. Her style, as simple as can be, devoid of a single metaphor, is adapted to her narrator's voice, though it also seems to be how she likes to write. It makes her message all the more convincing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but not Tyler's best, 14 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
Anne Tyler is a wonderful writer, she manages to turn the mundane into the magical. 'Patchwork Planet' is up to her usual unputdownable standard and thoroughly enjoyable (although my current favourite is 'Breathing Lessons'). 'Patchwork Planet' is written from a young, somewhat immature, man's perspective. Like many of Tyler's stories the eccentric male figure is central, but Tyler doesn't really understand men and it is fascinating to watch how she goes awry. For example, the way Barnaby notices the details of other people's dress, and reads significance into the nuances of their behaviour seems to reflect Tyler rather than Barnaby. Whilst his fellow burglars are heading for their victims' videos, Barnaby is reading their diaries. In this respect, Tyler gets it wrong but she is such a great writer even her mistakes are enthralling. The novel's greatest triumph resides in its supporting cast. Especially the many elderly characters, many of whom have become widowed; and as the book's dedication is to her late husband it is easy to detect Tyler's immense interest in these people. She portrays them realistically as they come to terms with their failing bodies, but her compassion constantly shines through. The way she depicts the inner dignity of even the humblest people is very reminiscent of John Steinbeck's writing. 'Patchwork Planet' is a book to treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 Aug 2002
By 
Paula Hill "minkusmum" (Fontanivent, CH) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
This was my first Anne Tyler, but I was soon hooked. Her characters are attractive, but they all have flaws, which makes them real. This book has the best description of what it is like to be old that I have ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a book with a nice rounded story and strong characterisation, 14 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I read it during a busy time in my life and I was always making time to read it in a hectic schedule....this must show quality. As always, Anne Tyler hits the mark with a slightly odd yet fully believable central character who takes you through the story with layer upon layer of intrigue, a range of characters all equally unusual and affable and a neat ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Un-putdownable, but leaves you wanting more, 10 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
I've read a couple of other Anne Tylers before, but I really liked this one. The best part was that I cared so much about the characters because I felt so close to them. Halfway through, I was almost screaming at the book "Don't do that!", "No, No, you've got it wrong!", "Think, man. Think!" The author constructed characters and scenes so well, yet the reading was so fluid that I couldn't help but read the whole book on a single day (and a working day at that!) On a more critical note, I think the book was a little bit long for the story it told. It rather loses momentum coming into the last third (for example, a whole month is summarised into a single page) and the ending left too many loose strands, hence my desire for more. I also think that some of the peripheral characters could have been developed more (perhaps this is where a second book comes in). On balance, however, this book is well recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book., 10 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Patchwork Planet (Paperback)
This is the first time I have come across Anne Tyler, but I will be heading for her other books very soon. The first chapter of the book should be enough of a hook for you. The story developes from there into a very tightly written narrative that explores family, success, failure, life and love. Barnaby is a wonderfully conceived character, utterly believable - so frail and vulnerable and yet with so much to give. The heart of this story is in the way it illustrates how cruel the family can be: Barnaby's fractured relationship with his daughter, the pressure of his parents, lonely elderly people who must rely on rent-a-back as they wait for the annual visit of children and grandchildren. Anne Tyler displays a rare understanding of human relationships and gives us all pause for thought.
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A Patchwork Planet
A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler (Paperback - 25 Feb 1999)
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