Title: A Spool of Blue Thread
Author: Anne Tyler
Page: 358 pages
Plot: “It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. from Red’s father and mother, newly-arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.
Brimming with all the insight, humour, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler’s work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.
Favorite Quote: “But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them”
Thoughts: I picked this book up last month since I was in a mood to read a well written family drama and this was my choice since Anne Tyle is famous for quirking up family tales. ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ revolves around the Whitshank family. The soul of the narration is the mother, Abby Whitshank.
The book tells us about the three generation of the Whitshank family. There is nothing remarkable about their family but like most of the families, they believe they are special. The story mostly takes us through the lives of the family members, their wills, regrets, dimensions, family dynamics, evolution of their family, etc.
It is a slow paced novel and very realistic in nature. The story progression is very slow which makes the book dull at times. A crisper edit would definitely have attracted more readers. The story is not striking enough but what makes the book stand out is the character build up and the narration. The characters are very well studied and portrayed interestingly. Empathizing with the characters and their quirks was easy.
This book is for the patient readers who enjoy a well characterized novel and slow and steady unveiling of the story.