Breathing Lessons covers the events of a day in the life of Maggie Moran, nearing fifty, married to Ira and with two children. Her eternal optimism and her inexhaustible passion for sorting out other people's lives and willing them to fall in love is severely tested one hot summer day. Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore to Deer Lick to attend the ...
Breathing Lessons covers the events of a day in the life of Maggie Moran, nearing fifty, married to Ira and with two children. Her eternal optimism and her inexhaustible passion for sorting out other people's lives and willing them to fall in love is severely tested one hot summer day. Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore to Deer Lick to attend the funeral of the husband of Serena, Maggie's childhood friend. During the course of the journey, with its several unexpected detours - into the lives of old friends and grown children - Anne Tyler shows us all there is to know about a marriage: the expectations; the disappointments; the way children can create storms in a family; the way that wife and husband can fall in love all over again; the way that everything - and nothing - changes.
Publishers Weekly, 1988-07-01 In perhaps her most mainstream, accessible novel so far, Tyler spins a tale of marriage and middle-class lives, in an age when social standards and life expectations have gone askew. While she remains a brilliant observer of human nature, there is a subtle change here in Tyler's focus. Where before her protagonists were eccentric, sometimes slightly fantastical characters who came at the end to a sense of peace, if not happiness, Maggie Moran and her husband Ira are average, unexceptional, even somewhat drab; and outside of some small epiphanies, little is changed between them at the story's close. It's this very realism that makes the story so effective and moving. Taking place on one summer day, when Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore to Pennsylvania to a funeral, with an accidental detour involving an old black man they pass on the road and a side trip to see their former daughter-in-law and their seven-year-old grandchild, the novel reveals the basic incompatibility of their 28-year marriage and the love that binds them together nonetheless. This is another typical Tyler union of opposites: Maggie is impetuous, scatterbrained, klutzy, accident prone and garrulous; Ira is self-contained, precise, dignified, aloof with, however, an irritating (or endearing ) habit of whistling tunes that betray his inner thoughts. Both feel that their children are strangers, that the generations are ``sliding downhill,'' and that somehow they have gone wrong in a society whose values they no longer recognize. With irresistibly funny passages you want to read out loud and poignant insights that illuminate the serious business of sharing lives in an unsettling world, this is Tyler's best novel yet. 175,000 first printing ; BOMC main selection; Franklin Library signed first edition. (September) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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