Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Clock Dance

Anne Tyler

Willa Drake impulsively flies across the country to look after a young woman she's never met. A bewitching novel of hope, self-discovery, and second chances, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

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A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn't sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she's never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope, self-discovery, and second chances, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

Advance Galley Reviews

If you already enjoy Anne Tyler, if you're a fan, stop reading now and go get a copy of this book. It's everything you love about Anne Tyler--the lonely and just-barely-wacky characters who learn to connect, the beautiful prose that seems poured onto the page like melted butter, a main character who opens up to new experiences in expected and unexpected ways. If, as some curmudgeons do, you believe that Tyler has only been repeating herself with her last ten novels or so, and her version of Baltimore is too cute or too white, that her tone is just unrelentingly proper and sweet, then go elsewhere. Anne Tyler and her delightful new novel are better than you. The opening chapters, which skip through the childhood and maturing of the main character, Willa, are masterpieces of compressed storytelling. We learn more about Willa from the inside, so to speak, than we sometimes get from Tyler's characters. The incidents build a believable psychological profile, explaining the older, guarded woman who features in most of the novel. (One character says of her, complainingly, "You always put on this lady act, so cheery and polite and genteel.") Her timidity, instead of being a quirk, seems well-earned. And Tyler has created a character we root for so strongly that every setback, every thoughtless comment from the dense, casually selfish men in her life, makes us hurt a little bit on her behalf. What happens over the course of the second part of the novel, to the later, sixtyish Willa, is, as I've said, straight out of a build-an-Anne-Tyler-novel handbook, but that only means that it's sweet, and moving, and hopeful about life. (In addition to being beautifully written.) I devoured it two engaging, enjoyable days, and frankly, I wished it could have lasted longer.

Anne Tyler books are always enjoyable and I can never put my finger on why. Her most recent novel, Clock Dance, is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but at first I didn't think I was going to like it. As always, her characters grow on me as I continue reading and before I know it I am loving the book. Clock Dance is the story of Willa Drake and the events of her fairly ordinary life. This novel is full of characters that come into Willa's life and they truly make the story satisfying and pleasurable. You see Willa stretch and grow as a person because of the influence of the new people in her life and you find yourself rooting her on to new experiences. A lovely story.

I really enjoyed this book, the first I’ve read of Tyler’s in quite a while. Now I’m going to go back and read some of her others that I’ve missed in recent years. What I enjoyed most was the humor. There were several laugh out loud moments. Willa was a very relatable character, trying to please husbands who were self-absorbed jerks.

I really enjoyed the first 100 pages or so as the story moved from Willa as a child, later attending college, and then as a wife and mother. The story however lost me when the action moved to Baltimore with Willa flying there to take care of a little girl as her mother is in the hospital. I found most of the characters in the second half of the book annoying and because of that I couldn't really go with the whole story line from that point forward. I liked Willa as a character and enjoyed seeing how her life progressed through the years but those Baltimore characters ruined the story for me. I know I'm in the minority with my opinion as others seemed to really connect with this book which is great. Personally, I didn't care for it other than the first part of the book. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

This is the first time in many years, that I have read an Anne Tyler book. I am now wondering what has taken me so long. She has a very comfortable style of telling a story. Normally I don't read books that take place over a long period of time but am glad I made an exception this time. If there is any part of the book I was dissatisfied with it was the ending. I wish that it had gone for just a little longer. I don't want to spoil it for others but if it had just covered a few more days in Willa's life. Now on to look for some more Anne Tyler books! Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

As a 60+ reader of Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance, I found the book totally engrossing and Willa, the main character, a symbol of of our generatiom of women. As a child in the ‘60s, she steps up and assumes responsiblity for her sister and the chores when her mother suddenly disapppears. As a young adult, she becomes engaged to her college sweetheart, even though he wants her to marry him and move cross-country before she completes her degree. Then, after losing this husband of 20years in an accident, she has to figure out how she will live the rest of her life without him. Finally 20 years later, remarried, retired and living in Tucson, Willa responds to a call for help; she and her reluctant husband fly to Baltimore, to care for the daughter of her son’s ex-girl friend. In the process of caring for the daughter and the mother, she finds new purpose, new connections, and perhaps a new view of life. Thank you for providing me with a galley for this book - I wish there were a sequel

First and foremost, Anne Tyler is my favorite author. I can still tell you where I was the first time I discovered her books. They are the best character driven novels ever. This book will stay with me, as all her books have for a long time. Her characters are quirky, they are real, they are the people that live near me. I love this book as I do all her novels. For a long time I didn't think she would write another book. That being said I don't think it is her best novel. I still enjoyed every word, every minute of reading it. It is my great hope,!that she will continue to write such wonderful books about the ordinary people that we meet every day. Anne, if you are reading this, your books have given me more pleasure than I can ever tell you. #thereisnothinglikeanAnneTylerbook.

This was a very satisfying read for me. When Anne Tyler writes about Baltimore, I feel like I am at home although I’ve never been there. This was a beautiful story of a cobbled together family that might not be perfect but might be just right. I was sorry when it ended, not because it wasn’t done but because I wanted more.

Well written but I felt like the story never succeeded in going anywhere, maybe that was the whole point. The writing did such a good job of painting a picture of Willa’s relationships. At the end I was expecting some epiphany or incite, instead there was no change or closure to a lot of unhappy relationships. I usually enjoy character driven books but this one left me wanting more of an explanation. Thank you First to Read for a digital galley.


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