One of Ms. Tyler’s earlier novels and certainly not one of her best as she also claims it but that doesn’t mean you can easily pass on this one. Having said that, I find passages which are really funny (though I guess the humor is really intentional to tone down the family drama) and descriptions I haven’t found in any writers I’ve read before. Common situations we usually see everyday but most writers failed to describe beautifully, chose not to or they really don’t have an idea how to make the common uncommon like Ms. Tyler. Her characters are triumphantly alive that after you’ve close the book, you still get to wonder what they’re doing right now.
The story is about how a death of a little girl in a small town affects the lives of her family and their neighbors beside her house (I mean literally besides). I don’t have an idea why the author hides the detail about the little girl’s tragic accident. Was it because the victim is a young one or would it just take away the haunting feel of the story if it’s revealed? Well, if the cause of her death is because of a reckless driver in a tractor, I wouldn’t mind the cause then. The author has a gift for characterization that I associated myself with Ansel. To brag about anything because he thought he’s always misunderstood. Well, he really is. Most of us are like that, right?
This is also the formula which makes me like Carson McCullers. Without being sentimental manages the reader to feel sympathy for the characters and the story. This one’s worth reading but try to read her other novels first.