“Just put your hand here. I’m scarred, too. We’re all scarred. You are not the only one.”
How does a man addicted to routine – a man who flosses his teeth before love-making – cope with the chaos of everyday life? Blending glorious comedy with aching sadness, Anne Tyler’s novel maps out the landscape of a man’s hesitant heart with tenderness, sharpness and unputdownable truth.
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler was published in 1985, won a National Book Critics Circle award for the most distinguished work of fiction for that year and was made into a film starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis.
Macon Leary writes travel guides for the business man who would rather be at home. After the murder of their son Ethan, Macon’s marriage to Sarah falls apart and he moves back home to live with his sister Rose and brothers, Charles and Porter. Macon and his siblings are a somewhat eccentric bunch who like their routines and arrange the pantry alphabetically (a nifty idea!). And then he meets Muriel, who is as different to Macon as night is to day.
Muriel’s entry into Macon’s life brings about a change from which he can never return. Despite the pain of grief, life is still fresh and beautiful, wonderfully chaotic and very full. While Macon’s siblings have concerns about this “Muriel person”, Macon discovers that he is becoming more himself than he has ever been in his whole life. As he slowly opens himself up to love again, he learns that life is messy, no one escapes unscathed but that there is always hope and love.
This was a delightful read. Funny and sad, full of witty and accurate observations about people, grief, love and life.