Anne Tyler puts two families under the microscope in this book. Along the way she tackles themes such as adoption, identity, inclusion, immigration, loneliness, disease, death, and life in the suburbs.
Two families adopt girls from Korea. The families meet at the airport, as they await delivery of their babies. One family is large, loud, and American for many generations. The other family is small, quiet, first generation Iranian-Americans. The contrasts make for good story telling. But what I liked best was how Tyler can make the must mundane situations into good reads: a long description of Maryam's extremely uneventful day is just wonderful.
Interestingly, I have just discovered (via the Reading Matters blog) that this book has been shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, the UK's only book award for fiction written by women. Here's a link to the Orange Broadband site.
This was an audiobook, read by Blair Brown. She's the best reader I've ever encountered. This was a very soothing book to listen to – is that a compliment? I mean it as one.
(Book 16, 2007)