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A Spool of Blue Thread

by Anne Tyler

A compassionate tale of family life which goes down as smoothly as your favourite coffee. The Whitshanks have created and live by their own myth. Their iconic house rises like a powerful patriarch - always dominant and ever present over three generations. But beneath its sturdy exterior lies secrets, disquiet - even hate. Anne Tyler excels at stories of the American family and this is one of her best. You really do feel like a fly on the wall.

Extract

There was nothing remarkable about the Whitshanks. None of them was famous. None of them could claim exceptional intelligence. and in looks, they were no more than average. Their leaness was the rawboned kind, not the lithe, elastic slenderness of people in magazine ads, and something a little too sharp in their faces suggested that while they themselves were eating just fine, perhaps their forefathers had not ....

But like most families, they imagined they were special. They took great pride, for instance, in their fix-it skills. Calling in a repairman - even one of their own employees - was looked upon as a sign of defeat. All of them had inherited Junior's allergy to ostentation, and all of them were convinced that they had better taste than the rest of the world.

Parallels

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper
A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler
 

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