Monday 9 July 2012

Choosing a name

Anne Tyler wrote The Beginner's Goodbye, about  a man grieving the loss of his wife. That is the basic story. Then are the many particular aspects - the kind of person this man is, the manner of his wife's death, the nature of their relationship - told in a light quiet voice, entirely believable. I enjoyed the reading. And yet, it seems like froth.

I am not sure why. The story is well told, it develops as time goes on, it rings true and it held my interest all the way through. There were no jarring tones. It is a bit like a bed-time story for grown-ups. Nothing too upsetting, nothing too deep. And consummate skill.

I particularly like the names Tyler gives her characters. The neighbour is plain Jim. His wife who matters more is Mary-Clyde. The sister is Nandina. The hero is Aaron.  See what I mean? The title is clever too...Am contrasting this with Emily Perkins' The Forrests - a multitude of people with bland names, too many names...

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