Length: 327 pages
About: 50 year old mother's day of revelations
Style: 3rd person
Where: US (Pensylvania)
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 -
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.