French Braid

French Braid : The Sunday Times bestseller from the Booker Prize shortlisted author of A Spool of Blue Thread

3.71 (31,173 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.71 (31,173 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family's foibles, from the 1950s right up to today.

When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone is determined not to notice.

Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won't allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.

Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts' family life over the decades, whether that's a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.

And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It's the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

'Gorgeous, charming, profound, and written with such lightness of touch' MARIAN KEYES

'A perfect work of fiction' MEG MASON

'Exquisitely crafted, tender, hilarious, devastatingly precise, I loved this powerful meditation on the small and often unvoiced moments that can make up a life' RACHEL JOYCE

'Such joyous immersion, I lost myself, and loved this superbly imperfect family' TESSA HADLEY
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 26mm | 461g
  • Chatto & Windus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 178474462X
  • 9781784744625
  • 291,220

Review Text

Subtle and powerful . . . a multi-layered and masterly exercise in sympathy and understanding
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Review quote

Deftly done: witty, poignant, wry - and sort of radical . . . Tyler's genius lies in the subtlety with which she portrays her characters' internal worlds . . . another Tyler forte is the focus on things unsaid and the tensions that spread out from these, across generations and even into communities -- Lucy Atkins * Sunday Times * Another masterclass by our greatest chronicler of family life . . . There are many authors today who try to emulate Anne Tyler's technique, but none of them comes close to the lightness of touch, the accuracy of her ear, or the profundity of her vision -- Craig Brown * Mail * A novel about what is remembered, what we're left with when all the choices have been made, the children raised, the dreams realized or abandoned. It is a moving meditation on the passage of time . . . For all its charm, "French Braid" is a quietly subversive novel, tackling fundamental assumptions about womanhood, motherhood and female aging -- Jennifer Haigh * New York Times Book Review * This is her 24th novel: I have read every one. You don't read her for the plot . . . you read her for the eccentric characters, the pitch-perfect dialogue, the humour and the tiny ordinary moments so exquisitely described they bring tears to your eyes. The clarity of her writing amazes me. This novel follows the delightfully dysfunctional Garrett family from the 1950s right up until the present-day pandemic -- Liane Moriarty * Daily Mail * Entrancing... nobody writes better about families than Anne Tyler... [she] has that rare ability to do much with what seems little, to bring the ordinary and usually unregarded lives of ordinary people to life and make them matter -- Allan Massie * Scotsman * French Braid is a novel full of compassion for the human condition by a writer confident enough not to pin everything down and to trust her story to work its quiet magic -- Rebecca Abrams * Financial Times * Subtle and powerful . . . a multi-layered and masterly exercise in sympathy and understanding -- Lucy Dallas * Times Literary Supplement *
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About Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her bestselling novels include Breathing Lessons, The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Ladder of Years, Back When We Were Grown-ups, Digging to America, A Spool of Blue Thread, Clock Dance and Redhead by the Side of the Road.

In 1989 she won the Pulitzer Prize; in 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'; and in 2012 she received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence. In 2015 A Spool of Blue Thread was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Booker Prize; and in 2020 Redhead by the Side of the Road was longlisted for the Booker Prize.
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Rating details

31,173 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 22% (6,842)
4 38% (11,880)
3 30% (9,451)
2 8% (2,413)
1 2% (587)
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