Anne Tyler Seeks Her First Booker Prize

I am pulling for Anne Tyler to win this year’s Booker Prize for “Redhead by the Side of the Road.” She is certainly one of the grand dames of the American literary scene at age 78. She has written 23 novels, three of which have been nominated for a National Book Award, one, “Breathing Lessons,” won a Pulitzer Prize, and one, “A Spool of Blue Thread,” was previously shortlisted for the Booker in 2015. I have been an avid reader of hers for nearly forty years, having read 18 of her novels. Why do I keep coming back to her?
The answer is simply that she gives me pure reading pleasure. Her books, most of them set in Baltimore and its environs, always have an interesting plot, but the real strength of her writing is her marvelous protagonists, all variations of a quirky Everyman or Everywoman.
The Everyman in her last novel, “Redhead by the Side of the Road,” is Micah Mortimer, an IT repair guy who doubles up as a super for a small Baltimore apartment building. Like so many of Tyler’s main characters, Micah has made poor decisions regarding both love and career. We meet him in the novel where he has attained creature of habit status, a middle-aged man set in his ways.
The Booker competition, as always, is intense. Especially this year, as Hilary Mantel strives to become the first-ever winner of three Bookers. There is a nice short video on this year’s longlist on http://www.thebookerprizes.com.

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