The first Anne Tyler book that I read was The Accidental Tourist (1985) and I have continued to read her novels ever since that time. If you do the math, I have been reading her books for more than 30 years!
Her novels explore the issues of marriage and family life through the passage of time. The concept of time and the idea of taking a journey through life can be seen in the titles of Tyler’s books. For example, there’s The Clock Winder and Clock Dance, Ladder of Years, Celestial Navigation and Noah’s Compass.
Anne Tyler doesn’t do book tours and rarely gives interviews. Charles McGrath interviewed her for a profile in The New York Times that was published just prior to the release of her most recent novel, Clock Dance. Tyler uses her adopted city of Baltimore for the setting for most of her books, and in the interview, she admits that she likes the grit and character of Baltimore. Some critics have said that Tyler’s characters and their stories are too ordinary, however, her readers (like me) would kindly disagree. In her interview with Charles McGrath, Tyler says that “I don’t think that living is easy” and she feels that the common thread in her novels is the idea of endurance.
At the age of 76, Anne Tyler told Charles McGrath that she has no plans to retire. She stated that she didn’t have any hobbies that she wanted to pursue. “There’s something addictive about leading another life at the same time you’re living your own.” She paused and added: “If you think about it, it’s a very strange way to make a living.”
For the complete interview: Attention Please, Anne Tyler Has Something to Say by Charles McGrath, The New York Times, July 5, 2018.