A Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND USA TODAY | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Chicago Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Telegraph • BookPage

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“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . . ” This is how Abby Whitshank always describes the day she fell in love with Red in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor.

Praise for A Spool of Blue Thread

“An act of literary enchantment . . . [Anne] Tyler remains among the best chroniclers of family life this country has ever produced.”The Washington Post

“Quintessential Anne Tyler, as well as quintessential American comedy . . . [She] has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving.”The New York Times Book Review

“By my count I’ve now reviewed around fifty books for USA Today. I’ve never given any of them four stars until today: to A Spool of Blue Thread, the masterful twentieth novel by Anne Tyler.”USA Today

“By the end of this deeply beguiling novel, we come to know a reality entirely different from the one at the start.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Well-crafted, utterly absorbing and compelling . . . probably the best novel you will read all year.”Chicago Tribune

“A miracle of sorts . . . tender, touching and funny . . . [an] understated masterpiece.”—Associated Press

“Exploring [the] dichotomy—the imperfections that reside within a polished exterior—is Tyler’s specialty, and her latest generation-spanning work accomplishes just that, masterfully and monumentally.”Elle

“The story of any family is told through the prism of time. And no storyteller compares to Tyler when it comes to unspooling those tales.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Vintage Anne Tyler . . . [The Whitshanks are] rendered with such immediacy and texture that they might be our next-door neighbors.”Los Angeles Times

“The magic of Tyler’s novels [is that] you imagine these characters carrying on, muddling through, enduring the necessary sorrows and quiet joys of their lives somewhere beyond the page.”—The Seattle Times

“The sort of novel that’s hard to disentangle yourself from. Warm, charming and emotionally radiant, it surely must be counted as among Tyler’s best.”The Miami Herald

“Prose so polished it practically glows on the page.”—Houston Chronicle


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Reviews

3.5
1,780 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Feb 10, 2015
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781101874288
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Anne Tyler
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •

“More powerful and moving than anything [Tyler] has done.” —Los Angeles Times

“A wonderful novel, glowing with the insight and compassion of an artist’s touch.” —The Boston Globe

Unfolding over the course of a single emotionally fraught day, this stunning novel encompasses a lifetime of dreams, regrets and reckonings.  Maggie and Ira Moran are on a road trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of a friend.  Along the way, they reflect on the state of their marriage, its trials and its triumphs—through their quarrels, their routines, and their ability to tolerate each other’s faults with patience and affection.  Where Maggie is quirky, lovable and mischievous, Ira is practical, methodical and mired in reason.  What begins as a day trip becomes a revelatory and unexpected journey, as Ira and Maggie rediscover the strength of their bond and the joy of having somebody with whom to share the ride, bumps and all.
Regarded by many as Tyler’s seminal work, Breathing Lessons celebrates the small miracles and magic of truly knowing someone, and evokes Jane Austen, Emma Straub, and other masters of the literary marriage.

“Displays her extraordinary gifts in supreme harmony: exquisite narrative clarity, faultless comic timing, and the Tyler trademark of happy-sad characters inspiring a mid-American domestic drama that somehow slips the surly bonds of the quotidian to become timeless and universal.” —“The 100 Best Novels,” The Guardian
Elizabeth Strout
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • A simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the tender relationship between mother and daughter in this extraordinary novel by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New York Times Book Review • NPR • BookPage • LibraryReads • Minneapolis Star Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Look for Elizabeth Strout’s highly anticipated new work of fiction, Anything Is Possible, which is available for pre-order now.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton

“There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to—‘I was so happy. Oh, I was happy’—simple joy.”—Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review

“Spectacular . . . Smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . [Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.”—Lily King, The Washington Post
 
“A short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one.”—Marion Winik, Newsday
 
“Potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes.”—Time

“An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion.”—People

“A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words.”—The Boston Globe

“Sensitive, deceptively simple . . . It is Lucy’s gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother’s shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful. . . . [It’s] more complex than it first appears, and all the more emotionally persuasive for it.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Strout maps the complex terrain of human relationships by focusing on that which is often unspoken and only implied. . . . A powerful addition to Strout’s body of work.”—The Seattle Times

“[Strout] reminds us of the power of our stories—and our ability to transcend our troubled narratives.”—Miami Herald

“Magnificent.”—Ann Patchett
Sunjeev Sahota
Short-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize

The Guardian: The Best Novels of 2015
The Independent: Literary Fiction of the Year 2015

From one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and Man Booker Prize nominee Sunjeev Sahota—a sweeping, urgent contemporary epic, set against a vast geographical and historical canvas, astonishing for its richness and texture and scope, and for the utter immersiveness of its reading experience.

Three young men, and one unforgettable woman, come together in a journey from India to England, where they hope to begin something new—to support their families; to build their futures; to show their worth; to escape the past. They have almost no idea what awaits them.

In a dilapidated shared house in Sheffield, Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his life in Bihar. Avtar and Randeep are middle-class boys whose families are slowly sinking into financial ruin, bound together by Avtar’s secret. Randeep, in turn, has a visa wife across town, whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes in case the immigration agents surprise her with a visit. 

She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all. 

The Year of the Runaways unfolds over the course of one shattering year in which the destinies of these four characters become irreversibly entwined, a year in which they are forced to rely on one another in ways they never could have foreseen, and in which their hopes of breaking free of the past are decimated by the punishing realities of immigrant life.  

A novel of extraordinary ambition and authority, about what it means and what it costs to make a new life—about the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the resurrection of tenderness and humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering.


From the Hardcover edition.
Hanya Yanagihara
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.
 
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
 
In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
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