Anne Tyler is all about the characters in her books. How they think and dream and yearn and love, often there is all this rich interior life going on, but they can’t express their thoughts verbally. The conversations are sparse and often no action happens for a long time, but there is heaps going on in the interior lives of her people. I love how she does this. She makes very ordinary people (whatever they are) leap off the page and tell you their sadnesses and trials from the inside.
Jeremy who is the pivotal character in this book is at odds with the world, he sees things very uniquely. He is an artist who makes collages, taking just the right shade of colour by cutting up anything he can find, whether it is an advertisement in a magazine or a piece of one of his children’s clothing. For a long time he is isolated from the world, his mother has died and he is letting out rooms in the home he has always lived in to boarders. Jeremy is not able to leave his street, he is anxious about almost everything and orders things he needs from a Sears catalogue. Then suddenly all this changes. He is swept into a world he never expected and is only just able to cope with.
The story is told from multiple points of view and every one of them is wonderful. By the end of the book I felt like I knew these people, that they had inhabited my life and I was sad to finish. It moves slowly along and that won’t appeal to everyone but I loved it.