The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler
Published by Penguin (Random House)
Not a new book, in fact I mentioned it in my round up back in 2013, but the one I consider Anne Tyler’s finest or, at the very least, primus inter pares.
I’m not sure how to describe it, so I’ll rely on the “official” classification of its genre ‘Psychological fiction’.
Dorothy doesn’t share much about herself, even to Aaron, and by the time she dies we don’t know much more than if we’d only exchanged “Good morning, nice weather” greetings in the street. And yet I know exactly what she looks like, what we’d talk about, the slight awkwardness about our conversations. Part way through the book, I even began to think how I’d find excuses not to meet too often, but how I’d eventually decide to meet up again (not over dinner; such a waste of money).
When Dorothy visits Aaron, is it so very strange that other people take no notice of her? After all, in the past she’d made little attempt to engage with them. And when you think about it, she never really engaged with Aaron either and yet they were happily married.
It was the tree, of course, that led to all the uncertainty. But it makes you think….
Moving, beautifully composed and utterly compelling. I didn’t want it to end.