French Braid by Anne Tyler #BookReview #RandomHouse #NetGalley #4.5*


A brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family’s foibles, from the 1950s right up to the changed world of today

When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone is determined not to notice.

Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won’t allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.

Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts’ family life over the decades, whether that’s a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.

And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It’s the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

Enthralling & Entertaining!

A wonderful tale of a family unit, and the individuals who are a part of it.

Mercy Garrett, while never a natural homemaker, has done her bit and now that the children are grown up and off her hands, she is putting herself first and concentrating on her art. She is slowly moving out of her home and into her studio – so slowly that none of the family want to make a thing of it. She wants a clutter-free life with clean lines and no knick-knacks – the things which have crowded the family home for all her married life. Although you can clear out your living space, you can’t clear away the memories – and Mercy’s head is packed full of those.

I’ve always been fond of a good family saga and this is one of the best. Revealing memories over the decades along with life today, there is always something going on to keep the reader hooked. Entertaining and enthralling, I felt as if I was reading about a family I knew personally. Not only is this a beautifully written novel, it also subtly catalogues shifting attitudes over the period. There are highs and lows and I loved them all. A complete picture of one family which kept me trying so hard not to race through the pages, wanting to make the story last. If you enjoy a family tale spread over the years, then this is one I recommend. 4.5*.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: family saga

ANNE TYLER was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the author of more than twenty novels. Her twentieth novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Her eleventh novel, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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