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Novel set in BALTIMORE

24th August 2020

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler, novel set in Baltimore.

Long listed for the Booker Prize 2020.

Micah Mortimer is in his forties and he is a man of routine. His family calls him a fussbudget (I hadn’t come across that term before, I rather like it!). The days of the week are ticked off by daily tasks and intermittent requests from clients to attend to computer problems. He has a girlfriend Cass but there is no real sense of passion and when she is concerned that her flat might be requisitioned, he doesn’t offer her to live with him.

This lack of an offer, she believes, is because he has given refuge to Brink, who has appeared out of the blue. He is the son of one of his ex girlfriends and he has the notion that Micah might just be his biological father. Micah however soon knocks that notion on the head and after Brink’s departure his daily patterns resume. Perhaps, though, Micah really doesn’t care enough about Cass to invite her to live with him – even on a temporary basis.

We accompany him as he travels by car to appointments, we are invited to enjoy his musings and meanderings as he navigates life emotionally and physically. Snapshot views of his character are afforded by his sisters and by Cass. His life is comfortable in its sameness until one day he gets a bit of a wakeup call.

As always with Anne Tyler, she is so good at making the mundane come alive with acute observation and wit. It is just a competent and almost laid back manner of storytelling that by the end I felt very relaxed and content with the reading experience.

NB. You will be entertained when you discover how the book got its title!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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