Book: The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler

By admin
13 July 2012

Aaron Woolcott, an editor in his family’s quirky publishing company, walks with a cane as a result of a childhood illness and speaks with a stammer. He grew up with a mom and sister “lying in wait to cosset me to death”, which is what made Dorothy, a prickly, no-nonsense doctor eight years his senior, so appealing.

She cared more for her work and her own creature comforts than Aaron’s and their marriage suited him fine.

Then Dorothy is crushed to death when an oak tree falls on their house, leaving Aaron bereft yet determined to hide his grief. After a while he starts seeing Dorothy everywhere and is convinced everyone else can too.

This isn’t a ghost story but rather a tale of one man’s attempt to make sense of a world gone wrong – and, ironically, when he accepts his life with Dorothy wasn’t perfect, he starts to emerge from the fog of misery and loneliness.

Tyler’s 19th novel and, as many of her others, is a quick read filled with characters who, while they might live unremarkable lives, are beguiling and intriguing. The ending might seem a little too fairytale-like but you can’t help but cast cynicism aside and be pleased for Aaron. The guy deserves a break.

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