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Author Study: Anne Tyler Curated by Grace Wei '17

The LibGuide is for the contemporary author Anne Tyler.


Ordinary People, Wayward Son - The New York Times 

"It recycles virtually every theme and major plot point she has used in the past and does so in the most perfunctory manner imaginable.”

For Nutrasweet Fiction, Tyler Takes The Cake - Chicago Tribune 

"However wise and wonderful, her fiction is seriously diluted by the promiscuous use of artificial sweeteners, a practice that has made Tyler our foremost NutraSweet novelist."

Anne Tyler A Spool of Blue Thread Review - Mail Online 

"Her prose? Almost without style. Her characters? Quite ordinary. Yet Anne Tyler leaves me as thrilled and baffled by her genius."

‘A Spool of Blue Thread,’ by Anne Tyler - The New York Times

"Tyler has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving. Her great gift is playing against the American dream, the dark side of which is the falsehood at its heart:that given hard work and good intentions, any family can attain the Norman Rockwell ideal of happiness…"

Generation game: can novelist Anne Tyler save the modern saga? - New States Man

"Conceived by Zola and sullied by Jonathan Franzen, the modern saga is in poor health. But Anne Tyler might be its saviour."

A Patchwork Planet and the "Slipping-Down Life" of Anne Tyler's Fiction - Jstor 

"Contemporary American author Anne Tyler has at times been criticized as a conservative writer endorsing the status qup and concentrating on the everyday realities of white American middle-class life."


Anne Tyler is viewed as one of America’s most gifted novelists. They commend her understated prose and deft use of detail, especially when she depicts her characters. She is praised for bringing her eccentric, but endearing characters to life. Tyler's readers often feel that they know the characters in person because how closely readers have looked into their inner feelings through Tyler's writing. Some commentators believe that Tyler’s skillful descriptions of her characters’ imperfections make the characters simply more human. Reviewers also compliment Tyler’s talent at portraying both comedy and tragedy. As a female novelist who has been writing for at least fifty years, Tyler’s portrayal of changing gender roles in the American middle-class family is frequently analyzed.