The Tin Can Tree — Anne Tyler

Just finished reading The Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler. When it comes to picking up new Tyler books, I don’t even go as far as reading the blurb. Simply, I know one day I will read all the Tyler books so it doesn’t particularly concern me in which order I do it.

The Tin Can Tree, as I only discovered about halfway through reading, is one of Tyler’s first works and was written in the 60s. It’s so comforting to see that Tyler has always been only herself; a writer completely devoted to the human experience. A writer than can make you feel through the most nuanced use of her craft.

This book follows a family in the wake of the shocking loss of their six year old daughter. It starts as the funeral is happening and we follow the fall out over the coming week. At times, the story is sweet and emotional and at other times, Tyler can really wrench our emotions with a few gutting sentences. What I missed in this novel which I’m used to seeing with Tyler is the epic quality of her work where she’s able to track a family through decades. This isn’t that book; it’s not meant to be that book. It’s a short snapshot in a family’s life. While that doesn’t make it any less effective, it is perhaps not Tyler’s most memorable. But what it proves is that whenever you want a novel that you know you will enjoy, go for Tyler. She hasn’t failed me yet and I know she never will.

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