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Redhead by the Side of the Road

by Anne Tyler

Relationship Stories

Redhead by the Side of the Road Synopsis

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. 

Redhead by the Side of the Road Press Reviews

One of her best . . . Her intricate domestic dramas, full of melancholic, fractured families and lives suddenly disrupted by an unexpected event or longing, have a way of worming into your head and filling it with her humane vision. She writes with finesse, compassion and empathy about the raggedness of life -- Sarah Crompton - Sunday Times

No one alive writes with more accuracy or truth. Anne Tyler takes the reader to the very heart of a life -- Cressida Connolly - Oldie,Novel of the Month*

The pre-eminent novelist of normal life . . . no one can match her evocation of the moments that build up a life -- Hadley Freeman - Guardian Review

'One of the most influential writers of her generation . . . Her books are so irresistibly readable that it's startling to realise what technical marvels they often are -- Philip Hensher - Daily Telegraph

Tyler makes you feel she really understands human beings in all their self-centredness and haplessness... reading it did me as much good as a week's holiday in the sun -- Jake Kerridge - Daily Express

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 -- Janice Turner - The Times

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 -- Clare Clark - Guardian

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 -- Bobby Finger - Vanity Fair

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 -- Julie Myerson - Observer

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 -- Anthony Cummins - Daily Mail

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 -- Amy Bloom - New York Times

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 - Stylist

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 -- Charlotte Heathcote - Sunday Express

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 -- Craig Brown - Mail on Sunday

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 -- Peter Kemp - Sunday Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781784743475
Publication date: 09/04/2020
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781784743475
Publication date: 9th April 2020
Author: Anne Tyler
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 192 pages
Genres: Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Romance,

About Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis in 1941 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. This is Anne Tyler’s sixteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore. In 2012 Anne Tyler was the winner of the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence.

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