A Baltimore woman whose family business is throwing parties in her crumbling 19th-century townhouse suddenly asks herself if she has turned into the wrong person. With this intriguing premise, Anne Tyler is off and running once again—this time with Back When We Were Grownups, which went on sale May 1 with a 200,000-copy first printing. In the words of Knopf publicity director Nicholas Latimer, "Tyler is a reluctant promoter, so there will be no interviews." (The author has never been interviewed, he explains, and has been photographed only twice—both times by the same photographer.) The New York Times, however, was able to persuade the Pulitzer Prize winner (for 1988's Breathing Lessons) to read a portion of her latest for its Web site, which will be posted as soon as the NYTBR runs its review, scheduled for May 20.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.