A week before the publication of Anne Tyler’s twentieth novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye, NPR’s Morning Edition has aired an interview with the famously publicity-shy author (“The Art of the Everyday: The Alchemy of Anne Tyler,” by Lynn Neary). “Famously publicity-shy” sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but I think it works.
“When I finish a book, I send the book to New York to be read by my agent. I picture them on a train, and my heart is broken. I mean, I’m thinking of how they’re sort of limited people or shy people, and they’re just so brave to be going up there on their own. It’s really anthropomorphic. But then, after they get accepted, so to speak, and they’re a book on their own, I’m like a mother cat with kittens. I never think about them again. They’re gone.”
Tyler’s bright charm resides in her signature blend of the serious with the larky. Adept at dissecting family life, she is also intrigued by lonely guys . . . Her newest variation on this theme is an exceptionally lithe, sparkling, and covertly philosophical tale, set, as all her novels are, in Baltimore.