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Clock dance : a novel
2018
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Willa Drake (Female), Mother disappeared; gets married in college; becomes a widow; dreams of becoming a grandmother
Genre
Fiction
Family & relationships
Topics
Journeys
Hope
Self-discovery
Widows
Divorce
Sisters
Time Period
1900s-2000s -- 20th-21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Having survived an abusive mother and a father she compares to Gandhi, Willa Drake struggles to find meaning in a life without direction or purpose. She marries before finishing college and raises two sons before finally completing her degree. Her first husband is killed in a road rage accident just as her boys begin to exit into their own adult lives, and after marrying a second time, she ends up a golf widow in Arizona. Out of the blue, she receives a phone call about the ex-girlfriend of her older son, who has been shot and needs childcare for her nine-year-old daughter (not Willa's granddaughter). Soon, Willa finds herself in a closely knit, blue-collar Baltimore neighborhood. Welcomed by the people there, she discovers a little girl aching for a grandmother, a crying need in the community for her time and talents, and, finally, what's missing in her life. Pulitzer Prize winner Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread) does not disappoint. Her characters are distinctly drawn and their stories layered like a Venn diagram over the central character. The result is a compelling look at the need for relevance, being offered a second chance, and deciding whether to take it. VERDICT Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Pulitzer winner Tyler (following A Spool of Blue Thread) takes a bittersweet, hope-filled look at two quirky families that have broken apart and are trying to find their way back to one another. Plaintive Willa is the link between her own fractured Pennsylvania family-rebellious sister Elaine, long-suffering dad Melvin, and "tempestuous" and abusive mom Alice-and that of lonely Baltimore single mom Denise and her precocious, love-starved daughter, Cheryl. The novel's first half follows Willa as she negotiates her troubled teenage years in the 1960s and her 20s and 30s in the '70s, her reluctant marriage to college sweetheart Derek, and her late-in-life second marriage with stuffy retiree Peter. The narrative then jumps to 2017, when Willa gets a breathless call to come to Baltimore to help take care of Cheryl, the young daughter of her son's recent ex-girlfriend, as Cheryl's mom, Denise, recovers from a mysterious shot in the leg. There, Willa settles amiably in a neighborhood of misfits, hooligans, and steely survivors-and explores her own family miseries. The cast of sharply drawn characters dominates in ways both reflective and raucous across a series of emotional events, such as Willa's baffling encounter with a would-be hijacker, a heartbreaking moment with her elderly dad, and the jolting advice she receives from a kindhearted doctor. It's a stellar addition to Tyler's prodigious catalogue. 250,000-copy announced first printing. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
NATIONAL BEST SELLER A charming new novel of self-discovery and second chances from the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread. <p>Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn't sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she's never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.
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