Liam Pennywell is untethered. At sixty, he has lost his job, downsizing to manage the change in his circumstances. In the search to regain his memory following an assault in his new home, he reflects on his life; of mistakes made and opportunities missed. As he reconnects with those around him, he is able to contemplate a different future. Well-defined characters and the acute observations of domestic detail take the ordinariness of a life, transforming it into a story that is both poignant and fascinating.
Comments from Groups
Provided one of the liveliest discussions of the year. A very wide range of responses. Nelson 022
This book well liked by group. The deceptive simplicity of the writing was much admired, and we were impressed by the characterisation. An easy read, with good print size. Christchurch 058
Ordinary! But we do not want to be like this when we retire. Made us realise that some peoples lives can be meaningless. Fernside 001
A wonderful character study. Matamata 001
Even though we felt the book did not go anywhere, we had a good discussion. Tauranga 023
Okay, weak story, but well written. Richmond 008
A book that rewards careful reading and reflection. Very insightful about relationships and handling transitions and trauma in life. An authentic setting with universal themes. Dunedin 029
3/4 of the group didn't enjoy the book - they thought it too trivial and light. But 1/4 enjoyed the aspect of the story that explored the ageing process, and how Liam's life changed.
All members read this. Varying opinions, most found the main character a little frustrating. Those who didn't enjoy it however, did however agree that Anne Tyler does have pitch perfect observation. I myself thought it was rather poignant. Liam seemed to have missed rather a lot in his life.
Interesting that a novel could be written about such a mundane life! An easy read with unusual main characters. We all felt that a lot of the glowing comments written about this novel did not meet expectations.
All the readers felt they were drawn into the book, as they felt interest in the character and outcome of Liam's life. Overall, readers all felt 'sad', which can be a tribute to the author's success in evoking people's emotions.
A very happy meeting with everyone in accord. What a delight Anne Tyler is. We all had favourite passages and laughed often. We loved the relationship between Liam and his youngest daughter; were frustrated with his relationship with former wife; sympathised with Ken; and glad that Eunice faded into the distance - finally.
Most of us loved this book. Thank you.
Mixed reception. A couple of people thought it was going nowhere, but others thought it was quirky and enjoyable.
Light book and easy to read, but probably not her best book.
The group didn't show as much enthusiasm for this book, as they do sometimes. However, there was a really good discussion and all agreed that there were some great characterisations and subtle humour.
We liked the book and enjoyed the characters. Interesting twist about Eunice. Quite a light, but pleasant read.
Most of us really enjoyed it - the absorbing writing and the gentle development. One or two didn't finish and wish they'd persisted as we discussed it.