Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Beginner's Goodbye (First Look)

I know it will sound strange, but I finally felt good enough to go to the doctor today.  Actually, I first went to the office and put in five hours of catch-up effort, physically crashed, and then managed to make my way to one of those pharmacy clinics where I was prescribed some 60 antibiotic pills to take over the next ten days.  I feel so awful right now that I probably won't be heading back to work until Thursday morning, at the earliest.  But, hey, I made a huge dent in what was stacked up and got everything done that was due by the end of February.

But here's some really good news.  I am a huge Anne Tyler fan, having read every novel she has written over her long career, and in today's mail I received an Advance Reader's Edition of her latest book, The Beginner's Goodbye.  This one is to be published in April and has this to say about itself:
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron has spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him.  So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, independent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air.  Unhesitatingly, he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage.
But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever.  Only Dorothy's unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.  And gradually he discovers that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying good bye.
A beautiful, subtle exploration of loss and recovery, pierced throughout with Anne Tyler's humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.
 Considering that my fiction-reading-ratio favors men authors by more than a 2-1 margin over women authors, it was unlikely that I would so completely fall in love with the fiction of Anne Tyler and Joyce Carol Oates the way I have, but the pair of them (different as they are) have been two of my top four favorite authors for over three decades now.  Ms. Tyler is much less prolific (as in not prolific at all) than Ms. Oates when it comes to releasing titles, so this is good day - and this one might just jump to the top of my monster-sized TBR stack.


  1. I'm also a big fan of Anne Tyler and so look forward to your review of this.

    I'm particularly interested in how Tyler handles the "unexpected appearances from the dead". If it's supernatural or paranormal, then this book is a no-go for me. If it's psychological, then The Beginner's Good-bye will find a place on my reading list.

  2. I'm sorry you're sick, Sam, but I am so so jealous that you've got already got the new Tyler.

    Mine's been on preorder for about a month now.

    Can't wait to read your review.

  3. Boy, that being sick sounds awful good right now.(just kidding, I sure dont envy the sick part at all)
    Hope you are on the mend fast, so you have more time for books!
    I'm anxious for the new Anne
    Tyler as well.

  4. Please get well soon, Sam!

    Great news about the new Anne Tyler.

  5. Debbie, I've read the first few pages of the book and it appears that others see the dead wife as well. It's handled in a humorous way so far, not especially supernatural or paranormal...more like those old movies from the forties used to do it.

  6. Thanks, all, for the get well wishes. I'm better this evening and hoping to go back to work on Friday. Got lots of extra sleep and rest today and that, along with the horse pill antibiotics, seem to be moving me in the right direction. Thanks again.