Portrait of a marriage,
This review is from: The Amateur Marriage (Paperback)
I am such a fan of Anne Tyler's books that I always try to keep one or two in hand so that I have one to fall back on when I want to read something I know I can depend on. Such is the skill of Anne Tyler's writing and ability to create completely believable characters and settings.
So although this is not her latest (I have that ready until the next one comes out) I have only just picked it up after the disappointment of a Booker Prize winner which I couldn't finish. Almost immediately I felt myself sinking into the totally real world of Anne Tyler's Baltimore in 1941, when Pauline and Michael meet and marry. Even before the wedding takes place Pauline starts to have doubts perhaps recognising that she and Michael are complete opposites and somewhat incompatible. Opposites attract, they say, hence the whirlwind romance, but in my experience opposites to do not make for very happy marriages and in this book it is no different. What we see is how couples struggle to overcome those differences, especially when the children come along, but eventually come to recognise that people essentially don't change.
I enjoyed the way the book spans 60 years and manages it successfully by jumping forwards at particular moments, but letting the reader know quickly and effectively, but still subtly, what the intervening period has brought.
My only criticism is that whereas I usually think Tyler's writing cannot be bettered, especially for her use of metaphor, I felt that despite the acute attention to detail in this book, her descriptive powers were not quite up to here usual standard.