There are many writers I find amazing, but none surpasses Anne Tyler for (seeming to) speak directly to me. I’ve come up with the simile “like receiving a new mother’s caress” to describe how I feel while reading Anne Tyler’s books. All her books zero in on some aspect of being human in the gentlest sense.
I just read a terrific article based on a rare interview with this author. If you’re a fan, you’ll want to read the whole thing. But excerpted below is the part that was of immediate interest to me because it describes my own approach.
Little … cultural tension finds its way into Tyler’s books, leading to the criticism that her work can sometimes be overly cosy.
‘I know the word “sentimental” has been used,’ she says. ‘I’m aware I’m not confronting things. That might be one of the make-believes in my novels, that people always mean well, no matter what their flaws are, and try to be optimistic. It’s an escape, an attempt to create a little world away from’ – she sighs – ‘all this.’
Of course, I’m no Anne Tyler, and my work-in-progress bows more to the god of suspense. But the idea of creating a space of escape – yes, absolutely.