Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler
Penguin, 355 pages

Some years ago, following a rather bad break-up, I stumbled upon The Accidental Tourist in the dollar bin of a used bookstore. I don't know why I picked it up - I had never read Anne Tyler before and had never seen the movie. But it might have had something to do with these lines from the start of Chapter Two:  "After his wife left him, Macon had thought the house would seem larger," writes Tyler. "Instead he felt more crowded. The windows shrank. The ceilings lowered. There was something insistent about the furniture, as if it were pressing in on him."

The story of Macon Leary, the abandoned husband, naturally spoke to me - I too felt I had been abandoned - but before long Tyler's whimiscal plot, charming cast of characters and unintrusive prose meant as much to be as the question of whether Macon Leary would return to the woman who had left him or move forward with the eccentric Muriel Pritchitt.