A Spool of Blue Thread

Anne Tyler. Knopf, $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-87427-1
Thoroughly enjoyable but incohesive, Tyler’s latest chronicles the Whitshank family through several generations in Baltimore, Md. The narrative initially tackles the mounting tensions among the grown Whitshank siblings as their aging parents, Red and Abby, need looking after. The youngest son, Stem, adopted as a toddler, moves back into the family house to help care for Abby, who has spells of forgetfulness. This causes resentment in Denny, the family’s eldest biological son, who is capricious and has been known to drift in and out of their lives. As matters come to a head in Abby’s life and the lives of her children, the story suddenly switches to an in-depth exploration of Red’s parents and Red and Abby’s courtship, delving into Whitshank family lore. The interlude proves jarring for the reader, who at this point has invested plenty of interest in the siblings. Despite this, Tyler does tie these sections together, showing once again that she’s a gifted and engrossing storyteller. Announced first printing of 125,000 copies. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/2014
Release date: 02/10/2015
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-101-87427-1
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-0-8041-9472-3
Paperback - 384 pages
Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-0-553-55103-7
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-385-68342-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-9735-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-5467-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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