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Anne Tyler

In this time of restriction (globally), and poor concentration (my own), I have been so pleased to read books that have left an impact without being too demanding of my time, and quite frankly, of my emotion. Anne Tyler’s new book, Redhead by the Side of the Road, has fitted the bill perfectly. Micah is middle aged, an isolated man although he has plenty of family, and a job he excels at (he’s a tech geek with a business named Tech Hermit), and a girlfriend, who he refers to as a ladyfriend, given her age (late 30s). He lives in mainly self imposed isolation, a person of clean and regular housekeeping habits, with a rigid timetable and quite restricted ideas. Micah, thanks to his creator, does not lack charm, but you can definitely recognise a certain curmudgeonliness. Two events happen in the course of the book, that threaten to undermine Micah’s deeply organised life—will Micah recognise them as being catalysts or merely uncomfortable inconveniences? Anne Tyler’s books are always a joy to read. They are literary, but accessible, with very well drawn characters that stay with you. I have loved her books for decades, but I particularly enjoyed the recent Clock Dance, and A Spool of Blue Thread. For all you podcats, there’s a terrific interview with the author on the BBC’s Fortunately podcast of May 29, 2020. In this interview Anne Tyler reveals that she has given Micah her housecleaning schedule, a fact that I’ve been laughing about since I heard it.