This book review, Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler, is a book of women’s fiction about aging and needing a purpose in your life.
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was eleven and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at twenty-one, the accident that would make her a widow at forty-one.
At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.
She receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot. The person calling said she is just a neighbor and needs her help. Willa drops everything and flies across the country.
The spur-of-the-moment decision to look after this woman will lead Willa into uncharted territory.
Willa is suddenly plunged into the rituals that make a community and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.
This is a bittersweet novel of hope and regret, fulfillment and renewal. Clock Dance brings us an everyday life of a woman who decides it’s never too late to change your path.
Willa is bored with her life. Her children are grown and she doesn’t know what to do with herself.
Then she gets this strange phone call. She doesn’t even know her son’s ex-girlfriend. Yet she she and her husband go to help her out. They stay with her nine year old daughter. And visit her mother in the hospital until she is allowed to come home.
Then Willa convinces her husband that injured mother and the child have no one to help them while she recuperates. And so they extend their stay. Willa, it is obvious, has found her calling and does not want to leave.
This is about becoming an empty nester and having to admit that you have an okay life. You have everything you need. A husband and a home. Can’t complain. You just don’t feel needed anymore.
About The Author:
Anne Tyler’s first two books are If Morning Ever Comes (1964) and The Tin Can Tree (1965). These two books showed her ability to render emotionally complex characters with impressive detail.
Subsequent efforts, including Celestial Navigation (1974) and Searching for Caleb (1975), also drew strong reviews.
By the time of her ninth book, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), Tyler was a bona fide literary star. Her widely praised follow-up novel, The Accidental Tourist (1985), was made into a 1988 feature film, starring William Hurt and Geena Davis.
That year she also published Breathing Lessons. This book was a portrait of a sputtering middle-aged couple on their way to a funeral. It earned Anne Tyler the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.