The Redhead by the Side of the Road

Oh my –  I did need this book.  It’s nothing fancy in any literary way except that the straightforwardness of Tyler is always soothing and comforting and in these difficult difficult times that is such a blessing.  Covid is spiking here in North Dakota and California is on fire – (I moved here from California only a couple months ago – I still have friends and family there – some missing.) 

The Redhead by the Side of the Road 
By Ann Tyler

2020 – 192 pages
Read by McLeod Andrews / 4h 50m
(Long Listed for the Booker Prize)

Rating – 9.5 (for many reasons)

Also, it’s no wonder this was chosen for the Booker Long List.  Who else can write like Tyler?  Omg – she “gets it” about relationships, about family, about lots of things.  But she’s not mushy and romantic – she’s real.  The last beautifully skillful practitioner of that old fashioned American realism maybe, if realism is in the details.  

Micah Mortimer is a single, 44 year-old computer tech with his own business, “Tech Hermit,” which he runs out of his two-bedroom basement apartment in east Baltimore (this is Ann Tyler).  He’s somewhat thin with a nondescript appearance and he may be borderline Aspergers – but that’s a “may be borderline.”  He does have a girlfriend, Cassia,  a middle aged school teacher who’s also never been married. He’s a bit clueless when it comes to interpersonal relationships but he’s happy enough.  

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7 Responses to The Redhead by the Side of the Road

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    I hope your friends and loved ones are all going to be ok…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! We’ve still not heard from my brother but I’m sure he’s just missing and his phone is dead. There have mercifully been very few deaths – they know how to evacuate up there. Hopefully the weather holds with no winds or lightning.

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  2. cheri says:

    High praise for Tyler – would you put Stegner in that category (well, except for being alive)? I liked Tyler until I read one I thought was sappy – Breathing Lessons, maybe. I may have to try this one – you haven’t steered me too far wrong yet. Best wishes for your folks and friends, Becky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like Stegner but he can be a bit darker, imo. Tyler has been criticized as being kind of fluffy. I don’t agree but you have to read her work seriously. No one would describe Stegner as being in any way “fluffy.” heh – I like them both but Stegner is not what I would choose for the times what with 2020 being what’s been so far.

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      • Cheri says:

        When I thought of the latest great writers of old fashioned American realism, Stegner’s who I thought of. I wasn’t very clear about it. The characters in Crossing to Safety and Angle of Repose really came alive for me. In the last Tyler novel I read, the characters just never jumped out of the Hallmark card they inhabited.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh absolutely Cheri – Stegner was a master of old fashioned American realism. He was sooo good. But Tyler has her moments – she’s been on the Booker List twice now, 2015 and 2020, short list and long list. I can’t imagine her winning it but.

    Please don’t put me in the category of super-huge fan. I’ve read maybe a half dozen of her 23 books. I’ve read 4 of Stegner’s. I think Tyler has got better somehow, over the years And I, personally, see threads of Alice Munro in her stuff, not the gothic so much as he idea of people and their interrelationships. But Anne Tyler is no Munro either).

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