“The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted.”

Tyler cropped

Oh, how I love an unreliable narrator! Our quote is the first sentence of the novel, and it’s clearly a flat-out lie. (The strangest thing about anyone’s return from the dead is that it happened — of course people thought it’s strange.) So, if the main character tells us in the first sentence that we can’t trust him, what do we do? Perhaps deciding what we want to believe — sorting the true from the true-ish — is our challenge. The tenuous nature of reality is an Anne Tyler trademark, and it’s one of the reasons I love her work.

Anne Tyler, The Beginner’s Goodbye (New York: Alfred A. Knopp, 2012), p. 3.


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