**Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020**
Discover an offbeat love story about mis-steps, second chances and the elusive art of human connection from the bestselling author of A Spool of Blue Thread.
Micah Mortimer isn't the most polished person you'll ever meet. His numerous sisters and in-laws regard him oddly but very fondly, but he has his ways and means of navigating the world. He measures out his days running errands for work - his TECH HERMIT sign cheerily displayed on the roof of his car - maintaining an impeccable cleaning regime and going for runs (7:15, every morning). He is content with the steady balance of his life.
But then the order of things starts to tilt. His woman friend Cassia (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a 'girlfriend') tells him she's facing eviction because of a cat. And when a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son, Micah is confronted with another surprise he seems poorly equipped to handle.
Redhead by the Side of the Road is an intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who sometimes finds those around him just out of reach - and a love story about the differences that make us all unique.
'If Anne Tyler isn't the best writer in the world, who is?' BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour
'Bursting with vitality and variety, it's a tour de force' Sunday Times
**A SUNDAY TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, SPECTATOR AND NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020**
Bursting with vitality and variety, it's a tour de force . . . fizzes with the qualities – characters who almost leap off the page with authenticity, speech and body language wonderfully caught – that, for more than half a century, have won her such admiration and affection
As always, Tyler is a magician, able to conjure up, in a handful of sentences, such endlessly complicated things as the comical messiness of family life . . . You finish her novels feeling closer to life, and closer to other people
Almost unbearably poignant . . . a moving and perceptive story about one man’s inability to connect with others and his gradual move towards greater self-fulfilment
Anne Tyler has the ability to take the minutiae of characters’ lives and say wise things about the human condition that other writers can only dream of
Tyler has every gift a great novelist needs: intent observation, empathy and language both direct and surprising. She has unembarrassed goodness as well. In this time of snark, preening, sub-tweeting and the showy torment of characters, we could use more Tyler
A book this lovely feels practically heaven-sent…. Crisp and direct, yet full of subtle touches, it’s a big-hearted tale of roads not taken — a delight from start to finish
Tyler rarely disappoints, but this is her best novel in some time – slender, unassuming, almost cautious in places, yet so very finely and energetically tuned, so apparently relaxed, almost flippantly so, but actually supremely sophisticated . . . Tyler’s ability to make you care about her characters is amazing, and never more so than here . . . In Micah, she’s created a man to puzzle and worry about, to ache and to root for
Tyler is a brilliant chronicler of human behavior because she understands that every part is something to someone . . . Yes, Micah Mortimer’s life is a small one, but as this period of extended quarantine and self-isolation is proving, whose isn’t? Though we have stripped our daily rituals down to their bare essentials, we remain as big and as loving and as scared and as frustratingly human as we were before the world outside screeched to a halt. Redhead By the Side of the Road is a delicate and moving reminder of this, and proves Tyler’s voice remains as vital as ever
Tyler is a writer who compels not through the complexities of plot but by the precision of her observations, her perfect pitch in the music of unremarkable lives
A fully realised world full of dry humour . . . Each character is deftly drawn in a few lines . . . Tyler notes how each of us tries to create, with rules and little self-deceptions, the fragile edifice of a tolerable life. But also that sometimes we must smash it down in order to love
From sport to history, thrillers to gardening, here are eight great gift ideas for this Sunday.
From novels about parenting to making love last, here are some great books to read in your forties.