This is the first of the stand-alone novels which I am reading in September. I hope to read 12 during the month but I didn’t reach my target for books written by women about women in August and there is a chance that I will not succeed this month either. I will give it a go though and The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler was an excellent place to start.
I have read quite a few books by this author and have always enjoyed them but not loved them. She tends to write about people who seem very ordinary and struggle to cope with life. In this book her main character is Macon whose wife has just left him and is finding it difficult to cope. It transpires that Macon’s young son was murdered in a random attack and that neither of the parents can come to terms with this. They each grieve in different ways and it tears them apart. After living on his own for a while Macon meets Muriel, a dog-trainer, who is loud, funny and impulsive. Muriel is everything that Macon is not but as their relationship develops he finds himself beginning to change.
This is a glorious, life-affirming book which manages to avoid being sentimental. It is also very funny in places. The ways in which Macon deals with his separation and his life on his own are logical but strange. His job is to write tourist guides for business people who want everything in the world to be like what they are used to at home. He seems detached from everything and his siblings have similar traits. Muriel is like a blast of colour in a beige world. She shakes Macon up and starts him caring about things again even though she is not perfect herself.
I truly enjoyed this book. All the characters are slightly different from normal and they approach difficulties from unusual angles. The emotion is real and you can feel Macon’s grief and also his bewilderment with his life on his own and then with Muriel. The story builds to a rewarding and satisfying ending. An excellent read and a good way to start this month’s challenge.