- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 15 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 22 May 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KC0A7B0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
Marriage, family and their crises are the staple of Anne Tyler’s oeuvre of 20+ often brilliantly-composed novels, often set amidst somewhat chaotic circumstances. This is her ninth novel and her favourite, as she explains in her Introduction to this edition.
A stickman’s resume: man meets woman (Pearl), sires 3 children, then disappears when they are aged 14 (Cody), 11 (Ezra) and 9 (Jenny). How come and how did it affect their and Pearl’s life since?
Book reviews should not be summaries but appreciations of an author’s skills in e.g. plotting, characterisation, language use (dialogues, atmosphere; perhaps use of memories, dreams, poetry, symbols), authenticity and the feelings the book evokes. Anne Tyler scores top marks in all respects in the eight novels I read this year. She writes warm, non-judgmental books about sympathetic, bland, foolish and awful characters bonded by kinship. Her plots often go back and forth in time and move in unexpected ways, even within chapters. They often have surprise endings. Her minute attention to detail would be senseless without her other formidable skills.
This book is outstanding. Ms. Tyler ’s portrayal of Pearl and Cody is mesmerising and occasionally infuriating when the paranoid and scheming sides of their characters show. She fantastically describes a range of passions and brings to life toddlers and senile elderly and anyone in between through speech or dialogue. She makes writing look easy, when in reality each novel’s authenticity is the result of painstaking research (and/or an elephantine visual memory or a highly-creative mind) and a gruelling drafting regime.
Finally, is she perfect then? Her “Morgan’s Passing” left me exhausted for two days, unable to start reading another book. Here, I found all this brilliant and engrossing drama, anecdotes and flashbacks in 35-page chapters, what, old-fashioned? But speed-reading over all the detail and thick description has its risks too, being no fly on the wall, seeing, hearing and smelling all. Great novel!