Review: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler


I fell in love with Anne Tyler’s books in the mid-80s when she was sort of new on the scene. The Accidental Tourist was my gateway book to her writing. I went on to adore the movie of it, too. When it came out I was in Peace Corps and a friend back home went all the way to the post office for an Aerogram [those flimsy blue air mail letters without an envelope] to tell me, knowing I would want to know (truly!) that in the movie Edward was a tri-color corgi! That is what a best friend is for. Anne Tyler writes books like a best friend, albeit a best friend with incredible literary talent. I thought I had read that Clock Dance was to be here final book (she is 76), but I could be wrong judging by this New York Times article.

The Story

Willa is a shy woman who does what she can to avoid upsetting people. The story is told chronologically thru her life in large intervals–childhood, marriage, etc.  Her “current day” life is the main story. A chance call by a stranger who reads her number off a neighbor’s phone list send Willa and her grumbling, controlling, husband, Peter, on a cross-county flight from Tucson to Baltimore to care for a child who is not related to either of them.

While Peter gripes and grouses and annoys people, Willa finds fulfillment in as eclectic a community as Tyler has ever created. Cheryl and Airplane, “Sir Joe,” Ben, Cali, and Willa’s son’s ex-girl friend, Denise (the reason for the phone call) are a as interesting and as average as any people on any street in America, but they find in Willa what they’ve needed: unconditional love, caring and listening. Then, just as I thought the world’s meekest woman would disappoint, she surprised.

My Verdict

Lots of people are saying this isn’t as good as her book X [each reviewer has a personal favorite]. I thought the title was just “off”–yes I “got it,” (it’s in the book), but I didn’t think it was “right” for the book. I also think she did seem to go a bit too far with the meekness, but why quibble? It turned out exactly right! Note: I listened to the audio book. I learned of this book from this blog post: http://www.book-chatter.com/?cat=214

3.75 Stars

Clock Dance : A Novel by Anne Tylerclockdsnz

10 thoughts on “Review: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

  1. Looking forward to reading this one. Interesting on the title; I’ve read a couple of books lately where I felt like the title was a real “miss” for the book itself. The two covers you pictured are interesting and very different also. Loved the blast from the past on aerograms — hadn’t thought of them in years! I sent many to penpals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also feel in love with Anne Tyler at about the same time, and after reading The Accidental Tourist, made a point of reading everything of hers that I could find. Some of those early works – wow. I’m on the wait list for this book at the library, and really enjoyed reading your review. Looking forward to it!

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  3. I haven’t read all of Anne Tyler’s books but I have read several and I always liked her writing. I just looked up all her books and, wow, I didn’t realize how many she’s written! Thanks for reminding me I have many more to read!

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  4. I’ve finally read this and really enjoyed it, I thought it was a real return to form for her, and a satisfyingly long one. I think the one before Vinegar Girl was supposed to be her final one, then she did that, this, Redhead by the Side of the Road and has a new one coming this year!

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