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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and wise
The Accidental Tourist is a wonderful novel. It is beautifully written and very wise and sensitive. The characters are ordinary people and the plot is full of everyday occurences, and yet I was turning the pages as if I was reading a nail biting thriller.

I'm always hearing that good writers should 'show and not tell', and Anne Tyler does this to perfection...
Published on 21 Sep 2008 by Veronica

versus
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enter Muriel.
Macon the traveller who hates travelling can be forgiven for being boring. Macon lost his only child in a senseless murder and his marriage collapses. A recipe for despair you might think! Well, yes and no. Yes because he cannot properly grieve or piece his life together. No because the process of his life is comic in the face of inevitable twists and turns. Enter...
Published on 2 Sep 2006 by Mark Dickens


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and wise, 21 Sep 2008
By 
Veronica (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
The Accidental Tourist is a wonderful novel. It is beautifully written and very wise and sensitive. The characters are ordinary people and the plot is full of everyday occurences, and yet I was turning the pages as if I was reading a nail biting thriller.

I'm always hearing that good writers should 'show and not tell', and Anne Tyler does this to perfection. The first chapter alone is a masterclass in how to create an original and moving marriage break-up scene. At the beginning of the novel, we find out that Macon and Sarah's son has died. In other books there would have been endless pages about the death and flashbacks to the family before the tragedy, but Tyler manages to convey the parents's terrible loss without going down this rather tired route. As the book progresses, Macon and Sarah separate, and then Macon meets Muriel, an unusual dog trainer who seems determined to work her way into his life.

All of the characters seem like living, breathing people - with good and bad points. Macon, the main character, is an excellent invention. Being an introvert myself, I felt like I could understand much of his motivation and attitude towards life. I also grew to admire Muriel a great deal and the physical descriptions of her - her frizzy hair and clothes ('I look like the Wrath of God') - were particularly good. I was glad the author didn't go down the stereotypical route of having her be tremendously good looking. And yet, the tension was there the whole time about whether Macon would return to his wife, if she would have him back. The novel made me care deeply for all the characters, and I was utterly torn as to what I thought Macon should do.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. The author has a very compassionate way of writing about people, but not so that they come across as cloying or too good to be true. The humour and kindness in the book is matched by tragedy and sadness. I also thought the ending was beautiful - it had me in tears and gave me a lot to think about. Real life is full of complications and grey areas and misunderstandings and it is wonderful that Anne Tyler has managed to capture this on paper.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enter Muriel., 2 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
Macon the traveller who hates travelling can be forgiven for being boring. Macon lost his only child in a senseless murder and his marriage collapses. A recipe for despair you might think! Well, yes and no. Yes because he cannot properly grieve or piece his life together. No because the process of his life is comic in the face of inevitable twists and turns. Enter Muriel. Muriel takes life by the scruff of the neck with zest. She more than overlaps into his life. She knows what she wants and he does not - but it is not just about the two of them.

It is a romantic comedy but without the romance as we know it. I found easy to read dusted with just the right amount of expression. Great language, you can really hear the characters speaking and see the dynamic in the dialogue. Once again Tyler wonderfully presents the ordinary like a refreshing breeze to the reader dancing cheerfully page after page.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read - absorbing and funny, 26 Jan 2000
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
I thought this book was absolutely superb. I loved the way the characters were portrayed: real 3-dimensional people, with real human characteristics and foibles. I found the book more and more enjoyable as I got to know the individuals and was sorry to close the book for the last time. The only (minor) irritation was the pronounciation of Macon, but perhaps that was just part of his character. I am a great fan of Anne Tyler's books. She writes about ordinary people with style and panache.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He could not think of a single major act he'd managed of his own accord.", 24 Jun 2008
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, this thoughtful character novel focuses on Macon Leary, a travel writer who hates to travel, a man who has gone through life observing what is happening, but who has never been truly engaged. Compulsively tidy, Macon has always believed that it is possible to order one's life so effectively that the untidiness, or chaos, that throws life into confusion can be avoided. And then his beloved 12-year-old son is cold-bloodedly murdered in the senseless robbery of a burger joint while he is away at camp for the first time.

It gives away nothing of the plot to say that this event totally undoes Macon and his wife, and their polite and predictable marriage goes into a tailspin. When the novel opens, Macon and Sarah have decided to separate, with Sarah getting her own apartment (where she can be as messy as she wants) and Macon remaining in the house with his son Ethan's undisciplined dog Edward. In fact, Macon has moved back with his sister and brothers in the family house, to recuperate from his physical wounds--an accident in which he breaks his leg-- and from his emotional wounds.

Then into his life comes Muriel, a divorcee with an over-protected, allergic, and hypersensitive son. She is a dog trainer, a flake, the only person willing to undertake the task of civilizing the aggressive, sometimes vicious "pet" that lives with Macon. As Macon tries to deal with his life, his loss of Sarah (who is dating), his son's dog (which attacks anything that moves), and his commitment to producing yet another travel book, his life becomes more complicated, and the depth of his relationship with Sarah, relative to the shared loss they have faced, becomes an issue which must be revisited if he is ever to engage with life and explore the possibilities of a new life which Muriel offers.

Filled with wonderful descriptions of life, both within Macon's family and in Europe, where he travels for research, the novel provides the reader with a full, realistic picture of marriage between people whose relationship has been, in part, the result of their commitment to their son. Poignant and emotional, but avoiding melodrama, the novel explores the meaning of life and love, the extent to which a marriage may limit or stimulate the growth of the people involved, and the ways in which a marriage must adapt to the new needs of the participants if it is to endure through time. Mary Whipple
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful sensitive story with a terrific ending, 1 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
I got into this book slowly but ended up reading it straight through twice over. The theme of love and why we love different people is brilliantly handled. "Maybe the important thing is who you are when you're with someone not whether you love them." The central character spends the book coming to terms with his feelings about love and who he loves. The final sentence packs an amazing punch and illuminates the whole book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I adored this book, 16 Dec 2007
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
Macon and Sarah have lost a child, Ethan, and this tragedy has torn them apart and Sarah decides to leave. Macon is a very quirky person, unconventional and unsociable. He likes everything to be very controlled and organized. He works as a travel guide writer for business men who really don't want to be away from home and advises on how to cope in strange cities by keeping everything as similar as possible to life at home.

Macon's dog is uncontrollable and frequently attacks people and this is how he comes to meet Muriel who works as a dog trainer. She is the opposite of him - casual, untidy, talkative and sociable. He is drawn to her and her child, Alexander, a weakly child who in turn warms to Macon.

I adored this book. There are some beautiful characterisations - a whole range of quirky, oddball people. I found myself empathising with Macon's heartbreak at losing his son and his genuine confusion about life. I desperately wanted to get to the end to find out what happened!

There is even a heartwarming subplot of his siblings and his editor....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant like a box of delights!, 15 Jan 2009
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is a wonderful read. Why do I say this? Well as a somewhat jaded reader I got the book after enjoying the film and guess what the book is better. the film was terrific so it's up against some pretty stiff competition. What you have is a wonderful idea of an author who hates travel writing books for people who travel but the twist is he has had an absolute life changing, mortifying event in his life. That of his young son dying. The central character is so well rounded together with his wacky siblings (and for once the term wacky is an understatement).
This is an absolute delight to read you really enjoy immensing yourself in this wonder tale as it unfurls and delights.
The old phrase, 'you'll laugh, you'll cry you'll cheer' really seems apt here. I must apologise for my not being able to find the words to describe this enchanting book that when you finish it will be with regret rather than the relief some less satisfying tomes engender.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow boiler, 7 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
Have never read an Anne Tyler novel before and felt i should try her out as she's such an acclaimed author. To begin with i regretted starting "The Accidental Tourist". Although the story of Macon (What a name?!)intrigued me, i wanted to see how he coped with his new life, i found it to start with quite boring. It wasn't until his relationship with Muriel developed that i found the story more interesting. Two totally unsuited people who somehow managed to have a good life together. The ending of the book i think can produce one of two reactions, you will either think that Macon has made the best or the worst decision of his life and i was left wondering if he had in fact made the right decision. In the end i was glad i read the book, i came to care about what happened to Macon.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He could not think of a single major act he'd managed of his own accord.", 24 Jan 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Accidental Tourist (Paperback)
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, this thoughtful character novel focuses on Macon Leary, a travel writer who hates to travel, a man who has gone through life observing what is happening, but who has never been truly engaged. Compulsively tidy, Macon has always believed that it is possible to order one's life so effectively that the untidiness, or chaos, that throws life into confusion can be avoided. And then his beloved 12-year-old son is cold-bloodedly murdered in the senseless robbery of a burger joint while he is away at camp for the first time.

It gives away nothing of the plot to say that this event totally undoes Macon and his wife, and their polite and predictable marriage goes into a tailspin. When the novel opens, Macon and Sarah have decided to separate, with Sarah getting her own apartment (where she can be as messy as she wants) and Macon remaining in the house with his son Ethan's undisciplined dog Edward. In fact, Macon has moved back with his sister and brothers in the family house, to recuperate from his physical wounds--an accident in which he breaks his leg-- and from his emotional wounds.

Then into his life comes Muriel, a divorcee with an over-protected, allergic, and hypersensitive son. She is a dog trainer, a flake, the only person willing to undertake the task of civilizing the aggressive, sometimes vicious "pet" that lives with Macon. As Macon tries to deal with his life, his loss of Sarah (who is dating), his son's dog (which attacks anything that moves), and his commitment to producing yet another travel book, his life becomes more complicated, and the depth of his relationship with Sarah, relative to the shared loss they have faced, becomes an issue which must be revisited if he is ever to engage with life and explore the possibilities of a new life which Muriel offers.

Filled with wonderful descriptions of life, both within Macon's family and in Europe, where he travels for research, the novel provides the reader with a full, realistic picture of marriage between people whose relationship has been, in part, the result of their commitment to their son. Poignant and emotional, but avoiding melodrama, the novel explores the meaning of life and love, the extent to which a marriage may limit or stimulate the growth of the people involved, and the ways in which a marriage must adapt to the new needs of the participants if it is to endure through time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but funny, unusual story of boy-meets-girl, 12 July 2001
By A Customer
I have never yet read a novel by Anne Tyler which has failed to please in some way. She writes with a gentle sympathy mixed with humour about everyday lives in the USA. Her characters are always well-rounded and entirely credible, but all the central characters have some oddity. The Accidental Tourist is MUCH deeper than the film version (though I found that excellent) about a dysfunctional family of siblings and how one - maybe two - members are brought back to life and contentment by love. The main protaganists - and dog - are very amusing and for once it all ends as I wanted. The attraction about Ms Tyler's novels is that she always leaves you both wanting more and thinking about the events and the personalities that people her books: that is my criteria of a good read!
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The Accidental Tourist
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (Paperback - 4 May 1995)
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