Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Redhead by the Side of the Road

I love Anne Tyler. Maybe my favorite of hers is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. But I just read Redhead by the Side of the Road and was charmed. It’s pretty short, reads quickly, and keeps you rooting for love, of whatever kind, to win in the end. 

People keep being human in Anne Tyler novels, flawed, though sometimes trying very hard, even too hard, not to make mistakes. They want to be worthy of love.

I could focus on this book, even during this wackadoo time when it’s hard to focus on reading. Main character Micah Mortimer likes his routines, and that may have anchored me! He’s a misfit brother in a chaotic family, one of  Anne Tyler’s endearing routines.

He’s an IT guy and a bit of a hermit…so he has his own business, Tech Hermit. He’s “finicky” compared to his sisters and their families, but his sisters remember a bunch of personal details about people, past and present. I love how Tyler gets into his tech head in her third person limited omniscient p.o.v. “Shouldn’t they be periodically clearing out their memory caches or something?”

It was easy to return to normal life in this book, but I had a little moment of COVID-19 reading, when Micah is out very early in the morning to run, before any people are out. In his head again: “Imagine if some cataclysm had hit the city overnight.” The streets are empty. He does indeed begin to imagine the world like that, how long before he would notice, and his solitary day: “he had all the time in the world, it was beginning to seem.” This awareness makes him a little lonely. It prepares him for something.

I won’t tell you what!

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