Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler’s new novel – her 22nd – is about a woman’s “last-ditch attempt to choose her own life”, said Pamela Norris in the Literary Review. Willa Drake is a 61-year-old who leads a boring life in Arizona with her golf-obsessed husband. When one day she receives a call telling her that her son’s former girlfriend has been shot, she “impulsively flies to Baltimore” and has a go at “playing grandmother” to the woman’s nine-year-old daughter, even though she isn’t a blood relative. What follows is a moving, often “hilarious” account of a woman “discovering an environment in which she can flourish” after a life subordinating herself to men.
By now, Tyler fans know “what to expect”, said Craig Brown in The Mail on Sunday. Her novels are invariably set in Baltimore and feature women in their later years who have been “ever so slightly let down by life”. Clock Dance is no exception. As ever, however, Tyler really makes you care about her characters and writes with such “facility” that the pages fly by. She is that rare novelist whose work “seems closer to life than to art”.