A Spool of Blue Thread

A Spool of Blue Thread

Large Print - 2015
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Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize

"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . ." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves 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 father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.

Brimming with all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler's work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.

Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, ©2015.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9780804194723
Characteristics: 549 pages ;,24 cm


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May 25, 2020

This one seems to be either loved or disliked extremely! If you want a thriller,page turner it isn't for you but if an introspective look at the human condition of a three generational family intrestes you, you will likely enjoy it. I found the second half more enjoyable than the first.

Apr 05, 2020

Really enjoyed this book, so many life experiences that alot of us can relate to.

TSCPL_Miranda Oct 28, 2019

I really enjoyed reading this book up until the last 15% or so, but I wasn't really happy with how it ended. After I rated it 3 stars, though, I started thinking about some of the quotes that I bookmarked, and how cinematic the story was in my head as I read, and I couldn't quite rate it that low. 3.5. I probably would not reread, but don't regret the read, either.

Mar 29, 2019

This novel was very disappointing, going back and forth on history and current events. So mind boggling. I would not recommend this anyone. YUK

Dec 23, 2018

Prose. A poignant saga all about the full emotional range that we experience as part of a family.
Need to read.

Aug 04, 2018

I lost interest ...read up to about pg 75, ...so, closed it and returned to the library.

DBRL_IdaF Apr 12, 2018

Nobody captures the nuances of family relationships like Anne Tyler.

Red and Abby Whitshank have raised four children in the Baltimore family home built by Red's father. Red also runs the construction company started by his father.

When Red begins to experience trouble with his heart, and Abby develops trouble with her memory, their grown children must make decisions about how best to help. Long-suppressed secrets and rivalries are finally faced as the family copes (not all that well) with the situation.

Tyler does a fabulous job balancing serious issues with the humor of everyday life, while portraying human beings in all of their complicated glory.

Sep 25, 2017

The reference to the title comes at the very end of the book but it is clear what it stands for. The book deals with three generations of Whitshanks and their lives and the upheavals they go through. It starts with Abby and Red and the challenges they face as they age. it is nice to see their family responding and yet the problems ensuing are ones that we can all relate to. The time switching from one era to another makes for interesting reading. The characters in the book are very well sketched. as are the descriptions of the locales.

Jul 31, 2017

Anne Tyler's "Spool of Blue Thread" shouldn't be a page turner, since it's "just" a story of three generations of a family fairly calmly living their lives. Yet I read it in one sitting and mostly loved it. Tyler has a wonderful knack of describing places and people, so that you know you've been there, and know what's coming next, and who these people are. I should have been confused by the time switching, but wasn't. The opening scene, when the middle generation is in middle age, is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It tells us a lot about the child who calls to drop a verbal bomb and then hangs up, and about how each parent reacts. This generation loves each other full-heartedly, but they can fight with each other and easily make up. They have two sons (one informally adopted) and two daughters. Abby, the mother, secretly loves Denny, her youngest, the best, even while his teachers are always calling her, and later when they go months without knowing where he is or what he's up to. Red, the father, runs a construction company he inherited from his father, Junior, who always has to explain there's no Senior. Stem, the adopted youngest, works with Red, and everyone assumes he'll inherit the business. The book moves back and forth in time, to Junior and his wife Linnie Mae, ending with the enigmatic Denny. This is perhaps the third of Tyler's books I've read, and so far it's my favorite. Nobody in it's perfect (except Stem's beautiful, boring wife Nora ), but all are interesting. Reading this is like eavesdropping on your most interesting neighbors.

basilbrynn1 May 08, 2017

Story about a family with the usual ups and downs. Accurately portrayed characters but lost interest 2 thirds of the way in.

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Jun 02, 2016

"'There is no such things as 'too understanding'."

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