Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Random House: 7/10/18
eBook review copy; 304 pages
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler is a very highly recommended story
about defining moments in a woman's life. I love and adore Anne Tyler's
writing and Clock Dance is a wonderful addition to her oeuvre.
The novel is broken into four parts, the four defining times in
Willa Drake's life.
In 1967, Willa is an eleven-year-old girl whose abusive, volatile,
and temperamental mother has decided to leave her complaisant husband
and two daughters for a brief period of time, again. In 1977, she is a
college coed whose boyfriend Derek wants to marry her and is meeting her
parents for the first time. In 1997, she is forty-one, has two sons,
and is newly widowed. And in 2017, she is married to Peter, a golf widow
living in Arizona, and yearns to be a grandmother. Clearly, Willa has
chosen to follow her father's example and she is an appeaser in
relationships, always catering to the whims of others and trying to
In 2017 Willa receives phone call from a neighbor to her son's former
girlfriend, Denise. The neighbor tells Willa that Denise has been shot
in the leg and her nine-year-old daughter, Cheryl, and dog, Airplane,
needs someone else to stay with them. The neighbor got Willa's phone
number from Denise's home, and called her assuming she is Cheryl's
grandmother. Willa, always helpful, agrees to fly out to stay with
Cheryl in the blue-collar Baltimore neighborhood, and Peter
begrudgingly makes plans for them both to go.
As expected the writing is simply extraordinary. Tyler does an excellent
job taking ordinary, average people and portraying them in totality,
good and bad, strengths and flaws. Willa is a wonderful, fully realized
character. I understood and empathized with her. Time does seem to dance
by and as you look back on your life, there are defining moments along
the way, but it is never to late to make a change. Tyler's novels and
the characters she creates to inhabit them are always quietly
phenomenal. They unassumingly live in the real world, face real
situations, and do their best based on the circumstances. This is a
novel about family, keeping your own council, second chances,
self-discovery, and, ultimately, hope. I absolutely love Clock Dance.
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin
Random House as part of the First to Read program.