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Book review: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

I listened to A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler on audiobook and it I think I enjoyed it more in that format than I would have in hard copy.

The story is a family saga set in suburban America. It tells of the generations of the Whitshank family, from an odd couple who moved into the family home to their grandchildren who returned to look after their parents.

While it was never overly moving or engaging, the book was enough to keep me entertained while I was out on my walks.

Anne Tyler writes beautifully and she often surprised me with a particularly insightful phrase.

In ways, this book is a quiet achiever, perfectly capturing the dynamics of a family – and every family – while doing so in an understated way. You almost have to look out for the nuggets of wisdom before they pass quietly by.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the dynamics between the family matriarch and her children, and her children’s partners. It made me reflect on my relationship with people in my life, and shone a light on moments that I did not properly understand.

Having said all of this, the story is quite unremarkable and I’m not sure that I’ll remember anything about it in a few weeks. But hopefully I’ll remember some of Tyler’s wise observations about life, families and love, for longer.

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