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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 26 July 1999
To me this book is one of the best I have read in years. It somehow captured me totally, and I like books that shows love for humans of all kind, not just the typical "perfect" couple where they all look good, have money, and have travelled all over the world and are brilliantly intelligent..
I STRONGLY recommend this book to everyone that is interested in people and warmhearted fiction.
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on 9 November 2012
The Accidental Tourist is yet again a wonderful novel by Anne Tyler.
The tragic death of Macon and Sarah's son Ethan has led to the collapse of their marriage.
Macon writes travel guides and before one trip he boards his dog and meets dog trainer Muriel. She's divorced and has a 7 year old son who seems to be allergic to everything.
Anne Tyler writes beautifully, this novel is sad and funny in equal measure. She makes everyday simple things in life so interesting to read about. I loved how she described the lives of Macon's sister and two brothers along with his boss Julian. I did find this book a slow starter but once I got into it I didn't want to put it down, another novel I didn't want to end.
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on 23 March 2014
I don't know why it's taken me so long to get round to Anne Tyler. I like slow, well-crafted and well-observed character studies with plenty of wit and wisdom and a dash of romance: apparently that's her speciality, and this is a good one.
It's an easy read, but she describes travel guide writer Macon Leary's descent into lonely eccentricity after the death of his son and the departure of his wife so well, it's almost unbearable. It's one of the best depictions of the alienation that accompanies grief that I've ever read. That sounds desperately sad, but there are plenty of comic moments, too: it's an enjoyable book, even if you do feel you're getting hit round the head from time to time by the metaphor contained in the title.
But for me it started going downhill with the introduction of shambolic, excitable dog trainer Muriel as the clunky antithesis of Macon's self-contained wife Sarah. You're obviously supposed to like her, but I found her neediness to be more annoying than appealing, and I felt Sarah to be more deserving of a sympathetic treatment - she's suffering too, after all. And after a while I found I was getting a bit impatient with Macon as well - I know the book's all about him, but I wanted more of a plot, and I would have liked to have spent more time with his endearingly odd siblings.
It was all just scraping four stars until that cheesy romcom ending and a final sentence which almost dragged it down into Mills & Boon territory - what was the author thinking? - so three stars, though it's encouraged me to look out for the rest of her books in the library.
There's a film version of this (The Accidental Tourist [VHS] [1988]), but if I feel like a tale about a lonely, middle-aged misogynist whose life is turned upside down by a troubled but attractive younger woman with a sickly son, I'll probably watch As Good As It Gets [DVD] again: I'd prefer a story with a bit more bite.
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on 19 May 2016
I found this book extremely slow and boring and was relieved to reach the end. If it had been a library book I would have given up on it but because I paid for it new and hate wasting money I persevered. I did not find any of the characters believable (apart from Miss MacIntosh!) and the storyline was extremely dull.
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on 13 March 1999
The man at the heart of this book is Macon, writer of travel books which enable Americans to find a home from home on their journeys. I found it tremendously irritating that Anne Tyler had chosen such an unusual name for her lead character and yet didn't give the poor reader any information upon which to base their pronounciation of the name. It was something which tripped me up every time his name appeared. Macon's only son has been killed, and his marriage is failing. Early on, his wife leaves. Soon, Macon is embroiled with a dog trainer who seems to pursue him just to the point where he begins to pursue her. An accident leads Macon to return to his family home to live with his brothers and sister, and Macon seems to begin to gain an insight into the strangeness of his background and of those same relatives. Macon finds himself moving in with Muriel, the dog trainer, and her multiply-allergic son, but always seems to be on the edges of her life, not fully engaged in it. Then, a chance meeting with Sarah, his wife, leads to a reunion, and Muriel is left once again on her own. Macon clearly thinks he has left her behind him when he jets off to France to revise his book on Paris.
I found the book very easy to read, and enjoyed it, despite disliking nearly every character. There are some genuinely funny moments which had me laughing out loud. I would say that it is definitely a good holiday read - easy to pick up, and with comic highlights.
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on 9 August 2012
I find the narrative to be dull, especially from the start then it got okay, but once I got halfway I was really bored and wasn't expecting much. It wasn't like 'haha' funny and some of the bits that were meant to be humourous didn't come across as so.
The bits that would've been good - she glosses over. Oh, so Anne Tyler can go on about sitting next to a sweating man but won't write more about Macon's reaction to Julian's plan to propose? I felt like there was more story to be told on him and Rose and therefore things would've been much more interesting if Anne Tyler explored that option.
There are many dwelling flashbacks which can be pointless at times and I think, 'is anything really happening?' It reminds me of 'Catcher in the Rye' because neither story goes anywhere and I felt like I'd wasted my time reading afterward.
I do like, however, Muriel's training of Edward the dog - like Cesan Milan! Also, how she says those who don't like dogs don't get mushy with themk and so train them better. That worked out very well.
There's a lot of emphasis on food in here too, which felt like more padding in the story.
I hate Macon, he's dull and for someone who spends so much time thinking, and never 'chasing' women, he randomly suggests having sex with his wife on the sheets, and nearer the book's end, he says 'oh I consider it another year in our marriage' to make her feel better after him being with Muriel, but then SERIOUSLY randomly decides, since 'he's never made his own decisons things just come to him' that that is a great idea to run off with Muriel, since she was aggressive and stalked him to France. Yeah, everyone wants to date a stalker. So, that's what I mean by giving up at the end.
On the plus, Tyler does explore hotels and makes random background characters vivid. I like that both Muriel and Sarah are imperfect women that aren't gorgeous and adored by all (though Sarah was as a teen).
I'm not to keen on the fact that Sarah has to have not slept with any other man so she's keeping to lovely wife while Macon gets to live out sex-getter of the year. And how horrible is this? Macon thinks that people can be 'used up' that he 'used up' Muriel for sex. Just terrible.
She does a good job of showing rather than telling which is good - you get a real view of who the characters are and you see how Muriel is quite loopy, like how she's asked a question and just rambles on about something else!

PLOT HOLE
not a big one, but within a few pages the character Muriel contradicts herself. She says that boys never proposed to her and at school they pretended they never dated her - but if that were true, then why at the start of a chapter had her previous husband insisted on getting married? And since he went to her school, there is yet another issue. She was married at 17 and he, 18, so there's no escaping it.
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on 12 January 2016
Tyler, Anne. The Accidental Tourist

Macon Leary and his wife are breaking up. This happens in the first chapter, but the reader only gradually comes to understand why. It seems to be because of a disagreement about Macon’s failure to react to the random killing of their son in the way that his wife Sarah expected. ‘Just walk away Macon,’ she tells him. Just pretend it never happened. Go rearrange your tools, why don’t you; line them up from biggest to smallest, instead of smallest to biggest; that’s always fun.’

As always in Tyler the trivial always points to something deeper. In this case a need to blame.
Her books are frequently about fractured relationships, basic misunderstandings and failure to allow for differences. Macon’s work is selling hotel space to travellers. He writes guides for salesmen, a not over-demanding job for which he is by temper well-qualified. He is not ambitious, likes doing jobs around the house, is diffident with people and enjoys taking Edward his unruly dog for walks. He is not a complainer and is immensely sympathetic in the role of the lost man making the best of a tragic situation. His salvation turns out to be his untrained dog and the dynamic vet, Muriel who trains Macon to train him.

Muriel is not welcomed by his brothers. She is not the right sort, an unsophisticated screamer, divorced and left to look after a handicapped son. She practically has to force Macon to accept her as a partner and a mate, thus putting the final nail into the coffin of Macon’s relationship with Sarah. But it is Alexander, the handicapped boy who gives Macon what he needs, a surrogate son to care for. A charming, deep and simply told story.
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on 14 June 2016
This is my first Anne Tyler read, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I loved this novel. The plot develops well, and the quality of the writing is excellent – and grammatical! The characters emerge by what they say and do, not by the writer’s description. As an English graduate, I empathise with Macon (how does one pronounce his name by the way – Mason? Makkon? Maykon?) when he feels compelled to correct poor English – although I would never have the courage to do it as he does – and I love Muriel – so feisty, so independent, so unglamorous, so ready to take on any job that’s going to earn a living,so determined to bring up her odd son as well as she can. She is totally unfazed by Macon’s more privileged upbringing and education, or by his correcting of her English. Like other reviewers, I came to care about all the characters – Jeremy, Rose, Sarah – even Macon’s brothers, who have a sort of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern aspect. .
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on 2 August 2015
This is the first of Anne Tyler's books that I have read. I found the writing itself, the use of words to evoke senses and scenes, of a high quality and my star rating reflects this. Otherwise it would have been 2 star instead of 3. My problems with the book were not the unexplored details of, for example, Julian and Rose's courtship and marriage. I think a good storyteller leaves the reader to do some work and doesn't spoon feed every morsel. However, the unusual name 'Macon' was a real tripwire. It took me a while getting comfortable with reading it. At the beginning of a novel it is unwise to write something off-putting. When I finished the book and looked back, I don't think there was a single person in it whom I liked. Sarah was bland, Muriel was so irritating, the Leary family invoked pity rather than affection. But most of all, I didn't like Macon. He has been through tragedy certainly. That cannot be underestimated of course. But his use of Muriel is virtually always selfish. She has gone so far as being so attached to him she will think of marriage. He never verbally commits, then just walks out on her, it seems without talking it over and without any softness or explanation. He just packs up and goes. He doesn't consider the effect this has on Alexander. He then packs up on Sarah and heads off back to Muriel. Surely Muriel will be thinking he might just leave her again and go back to Sarah when he has another change of mind. He is one of the most selfish, self-absorbed characters I have read about. Of course, this is his story and this is who he is, so why shouldn't his story be told? I just couldn't find myself rooting for any of the characters.
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on 30 December 2015
Anne Tyler has the ability to turn what sounds like a depressing sob story – a couple trying to get over the murder of their 12-year-old son - into a tale that is amusing, moving and convincing.

Almost every character is memorable, whether the dry stick accidental tourist himself, Macon Leary, his dog trainer girlfriend, Muriel, oddball relatives and even his dog Edward.

Tyler's gentle humor drives the story ahead on every page.

Nevertheless, despite the lighthearted approach, there are moments of great tension, not just when Leary has to cope with the boy's death but also the scene when the girlfriend virtually strangles the dog to force it to obey her.

Leary's wife, Sarah, gets to the heart of the matter when she turns on him and his approach to life: “So what are you saying? We die in the end, so why bother to live in the first place?”

By then he has learned his lesson and has to make his choice between his girlfriend and his wife.

If you haven't sampled Anne Tyler's marvelous novels, this is a great one to start with.
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