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4.0 out of 5 stars18
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 20 July 2007
I've just finished re-reading this book and once again, I think it's one of the saddest books I've ever read. Justine sacrifices everything for her husband including her parents, her extended family and even her daughter. Her grandfather dreams of finding Caleb but Anne Tyler makes him suffer. Caleb himself lives the most sorrowful of lives, and Duncan, the selfish husband to Justine can never be satisfied. Anne Tyler is unrelenting, just as life is for so many people, in allowing any of her characters to experience fulfilment - that's why she's my favourite writer.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 December 2006
Another Anne Tyler family saga, this time an overview of the extended Peck family, from Baltimore, where else! The family history of various generations of Pecks is described, all are great characters of course. Then the focus shifts to the life of Justine, contrasting her modern life with the lives of her forebears, and the search for a lost family member, the titular Caleb.

I think this is right up there with the best of Anne Tyler's novels and the included detective story makes it something different from her other books. As usual there are some unexpected twists along the way.
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VINE VOICEon 29 July 2009
Searching is the theme of this typical Anne Tyler story of a dysfunctional family searching not just for Great Uncle Caleb but for meaning in their own lives, for answers about family relationships, for happiness, for peace of mind. Bittersweet but satisfying.
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on 21 June 2015
The Peck family are like an island. They don't seem to let anyone in and they don't want to let any of their large family out. Their life is living together in the homes that they have built in leafy Roland Park. There have to be those who will get away. Caleb walks away one day, no one knows where to. Duncan is a rebel from childhood and sweet tempered, kind and tolerant Justine, his cousin, sacrifices everything for him. She and their grandfather, Caleb's now very elderley brother, will enjoy in their own ways, the searching for Caleb. Anne Tyler has created her usual mix of complex characters. I am not a die hard Tyler fan, but I have read most of her books over the years. This one I missed way back and hadn't realised that it was published in 1976. Everyone has their one or two Tyler favourites. This one wouldn't be up there with mine, but never the less, even though I prefer the ones with characters that I can relate to, I did enjoy the read. I would recommend it, but possibly readers who already know the authors style would enjoy it more.
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on 23 January 2015
I have to admit I only ca 40pages.I did not like the people and could not get into it.
That is rare for me to give up on a book, especially Anne Tyler
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on 4 December 2015
I have quite a few Ann Tyler novels and usually do not want them to end. In this book the story went on for an eternity. Totally unlikable characters who I could not relate to in any way. The book is overlong and feels padded out in places with repetitive facts. I would love other readers to try other Ann Tyler novels before this one as it could you trying others. My favourite is The Accidental Tourist with Dinner at the Homesick restaurant coming a close second.
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on 14 November 2014
Not one of Tyler's best. I gave up one third in to this novel. Very disappointing.
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on 22 June 2013
Anne Tyler is one of my favourite authors. She draws her characters so well and she describes life as it is. No attempt is made to make a happy ending. I enjoyed this book so much following the haphazard life of the family in the quest to find Caleb and can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 23 February 2015
I had hoped to enjoy this book more than I did, but I was interrupted a lot which might have affected my enjoyment. Great characters and an interesting portrayal of lives determined by convention and family ties.
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on 23 April 2016
Change versus stasis, the outside unpredictable world versus the 'safe' world inside a the family. Good characterisation: may move too slowly for some.
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