"A Spool of Blue Thread" in Review

Monday, April 16, 2018
We had a lovely time tonight at Serena's house discussing our April selection, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler.  A novel focused on the Whitshank family without arguably a protagonist (the family unit may well be the protagonist), it was a pleasant reading experience, but without any real highs or lows.  There wasn't really a central conflict in this novel, so the story line may very well be likened to unraveling a spool of thread.  It was my first novel by Tyler, and I understand she often writes about her characters within the context of family.

Image credit: Bustle
Tyler has a way of capturing a common, relatable experience in one sentence: "The dinner plates were practically touching, with silverware bunched between them, and people kept saying 'I'm sorry; is this your glass or mine?'" (p. 131-132).  I enjoyed Tyler's writing, but as a story, it left me wanting more.  I grew a little tired at points in the book with the weaving of stories from the Whitshank family tree.  I wanted the stories to go deeper, to know more.  The characterizations were top-notch, but it was the story itself that I felt lacked sufficient conflict and depth overall.  I always ask myself, will I remember this story?  Not sure this novel about the Whitshanks was enough to create a lasting impression.


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