Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1989 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Breathing Lessons by Ann Tyler


Publisher: Vintage

Length: 327 pages

About: 50 year old mother's day of revelations

Style: 3rd person

Where: US (Pensylvania)

When: 1980s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Breathing Lessons" covers the events of a day in the life of Maggie Moran, nearing fifty, married to Ira and with two children. Her eternal optimism and her inexhaustible passion for sorting out other people's lives and willing them to fall in love is severely tested one hot summer day. Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore to Deer Lick to attend the funeral of the husband of Serena, Maggie's childhood friend. During the course of the journey, with its several unexpected detours - into the lives of old friends and grown children - Anne Tyler shows us all there is to know about a marriage: the expectations; the disappointments; the way children can create storms in a family; the way the wife and husband can fall in love all over again; the way that everything - and nothing - changes.



You can just give those blouses to the veterans. Don't bother with nothing synthetic, Fiona told me. She's living back at home now and hasn't got much closet room." Maggie said "Ah", and laid the blouse aside. She felt a twinge of envy. Wouldn't it be wonderful to save only what was first-class and genuine and pure, and walk out on everything else!




If Tyler's novels tend to leave her readers exactly where she found them, they also, quite brilliantly, tell them that what they are reading about may not be breathtaking, but it is life.

The Sunday Times, Austin MacCurtain, April 8th 1990


Not so good:

Breathing Lessons gets off to a somewhat slow, predictable start: scenes of Maggie and Ira setting off on their trip, while arguing about everything from her driving ability to the routes they plan to take.

New York Times, Alfred A. Knopf, 3rd September 1988


About the author

Born October 25, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tyler grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduated at age nineteen from Duke University, and completed graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University in New York City.


In 1963, Tyler married Iranian psychiatrist and novelist Taghi Mohammad Modarressi, with whom she had two daughters, Tezh and Mitra. Modarressi died in 1997. Tyler resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where most of her novels are set, often crossing decades in a family's life.






































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<1988> -  <1990>















Page turner







Age guide: 12


Novels by same author:



In 1994, a television movie based on the book was made for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was directed by John Erman, and starred James Garner and Joanne Woodward as Ira and Maggie Moran.


Kevin McKeon also adapted the novel into a stage play. From June 6 - 29, 2003, he directed its premier run at the Book-It Repertory Theatre, at Seattle Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, in Seattle, Washington.





2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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