Clock Dance (Paperback)
Vintage, 9780525563020, 304pp.
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
July 2018 Indie Next List
— Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA
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A charming novel of self-discovery and second chances from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread
Willa Drake has had three opportunities to start her life over: in 1967, as a schoolgirl whose mother has suddenly disappeared; in 1977, when considering a marriage proposal; and in 1997, as a young widow trying to hold her family together. So she is surprised when in 2017 she is given one last chance to change everything, after receiving a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to help a young woman she's never met. This impulsive decision, maybe the first one she’s consciously made in her life, 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 and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.
One of the Best Books of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, The Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Praise For Clock Dance…
“Delightfully zany . . . Charming . . . Tender.” —The Washington Post
“Tenderly devastating . . . Affecting . . . A quiet but sharply feminist statement.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A psychologically astute study of an intelligent, curious woman . . . A triumph.” —Boston Globe
“Exquisite. . . . What keeps us glued are the lovely, intricate details; the depiction of human emotion as odd and splendid; and the tiny flickers of hope that feel like bursts of joy.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Tyler writes with enormous warmth about all her characters.” —Baltimore Sun
“Tyler’s stirring story celebrates the joys of self-discovery and the essential truth that family is ours to define.” —People
“In Tyler’s effortless, uncluttered prose, the novel beautifully explores an older woman’s search for meaning and agency in her life.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Feels as comforting as coming home.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Pulls you right in and keeps on ticking . . . Tyler’s novels reassure us that the possibilities for meaningful connection—which so often seem lost in our hectic world—are still out there.” —Newsday
“Anne Tyler is the most dependably rewarding novelist now at work in our country.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A gorgeous gem of a novel about family and second chances.” —Bustle
“What’s so amazing about Tyler’s novels is the way she makes ordinary people and ordinary things so fascinating . . . In Tyler’s hands, life’s mundane activities feel vital . . . Revelatory . . . Unwrapping the story is a delight.” —Chicago Tribune
“Full of wisdom about relationships, delivered in gorgeous language and with considerable charm.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Clock Dance is Anne Tyler at her best . . . An entertaining, heartwarming story about second chances and the real meaning of family . . . Full of the sorts of eccentric yet totally believable characters that Anne Tyler is a genius at creating . . . Captivating . . . A delight.” —Greensboro News & Record (NC)
“A joy to read . . . These characters come to life off the page.” —Baltimore Magazine
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Why do you think Anne Tyler began the story where she did? What do we learn about Willa by first meeting her as a little girl?
2. What do you make of the stranger on the plane? How would you respond in Willa’s position? In Derek’s? Have you ever had an experience that felt like this one? How did you want your family and friends to react?
3. Why do you think the cactus is so important to Willa? Are there symbols or landmarks in your own life that give you such powerful feelings?
4. If the book were instead focused on the life of another main character or Baltimore neighbor, which one would you most like to read about? What would their personal journey be?
5. Compare Willa’s two marriages, as well as her feelings towards her sons. How has caring for different men shaped her life? How do you think these relationships affect the choices she makes in the second half of the book?
6. Now that you’ve finished, why do you think the author chose these particular moments in Willa’s life to highlight? How do they make her the person she becomes, and where do you think she ends up?