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What readers think of Clock Dance, plus links to write your own review.

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Clock Dance

A Novel

by Anne Tyler

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler X
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2018, 304 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2019, 304 pages

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There are currently 34 reader reviews for Clock Dance
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

An Endearing and Enthralling Tale About the Families We Create to Fill Our Hearts
This is not your typical Anne Tyler book—until suddenly, it is.

Anne Tyler has a rare gift among writers in that she can perfectly capture the minutiae of life, providing a close-up look at those tiny details that add up to something very important. In addition, she creates the quirkiest characters ever, but all of whom are unerringly believable.

The style of this book is different than the many others she has written in that the first third of it doesn't have that definitive Anne Tyler signature of quirky characters. When the book opens in 1967, we meet Willa Drake, an 11-year-old dealing with the sudden disappearance and then reappearance of her tempestuous, moody mother. Just as you're getting into that story, the chapter ends and we move to 1977 when Willa is a junior in college and contemplating an offer of marriage. Then wham! It's 1997, and Willa is a widow with two teenage sons. Then—finally—it's 2007, and Willa, now living in Tucson, Arizona with her second husband, receives a bizarre phone call to come to Baltimore, Maryland to care for a child of her son's former lover, who is hospitalized after someone shot her in the leg. And the Anne Tyler we know and love truly kicks in at this point as we meet the quirky neighbors and dive head first into the quirky life on Dorcas Road.

This book is a sheer delight to read. Like all Anne Tyler novels, this is a character-driven story where the plot is secondary. And those characters are all colorful, genuine, and memorable. It is an endearing and enthralling tale about human relationships—the families we have by birth and the families we create to fill our hearts with love.
Nancy Emery, retired librarian Sturgeon Bay WI

the Clock Dance
Ann Tyler does it again...another engrossing read that is over all too soon. Basically it is the story of Willa starting out in 1967and progresses through her life in ten and twenty year increments. I found myself relating to her in all the Phases of her life. Her life takes unexpected turns that keep the story moving.
Bettie T. (Johns Island, SC)

A Woman on Her Way
Keeping in mind that truth is often far stranger than fiction, one has to put aside the main premise of the story, take that leap of faith, and dig into the wonderfully human characters and details that make up Clock Dance. Our main character, Willa, might be perceived by those who don't know her well (including her family) as a weak person, but she is actually very generous and comes to know her strength through the novel. I found her an easy character with which to identify. I think book clubs will find several themes that can be discussed, including the ways in which women's ways are often different from men's.
Chris, Wisconsin

Vintage Anne Tyler
Like the other books by Anne Tyler that I've read, Clock Dance is a story about ordinary people living mostly very ordinary lives, but told in a way that makes them interesting enough for the reader to keep turning pages and then not wanting the book to end. I enjoyed Willa's story very much, and have spent quite a bit of time since finishing it, wondering what the next chapter of her life would hold.
Lori (Puyallup, WA)

Anne Tyler is a joy to read
I have enjoyed Anne Tyler's writing for many years now and was excited to read Clock Dance. It did not disappoint and exceeded my expectations. The story wound its way gently over the hills and valleys of the character's ordinary but unique situations. A wonderful selection for a book club. Thank you Book Browse for this exceptional book!
Marie De

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
As I read Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, I had the uncomfortable sense of having no idea where the story was going. The story relates events in “chunks” of Willa’s life, starting with her childhood. Her father is totally amiable and placid while her mother is “high strung” and leaves the family for long periods of time during which Willa plays mother to her younger sister. The story skips ahead to her first marriage and then to her second. In the final and longest segment, she is summoned to the aid of her son’s ex-girlfriend who has been shot in the leg. Willa cares for her and her daughter as she recuperates. Even in this segment, I was getting impatient for something definitive to happen. Willa seems to live slightly removed from herself. She is pleasant, kind, and seemingly unflappable. She skims along the surface of life pleasantly, just as the story seems to stay on the surface of the character. And that is the point, the genius of Anne Tyler. She doesn’t explain, she shows.
This is a book you will think about and want to discuss long after you close the covers.
Mary M. (Lexington, KY)

Quiet
In Clock Dance we first meet the main character Willa when she is a child and follow her through significant events in her life. We quickly see that Willa is living her life doing what others want. That is until she receives a phone call from a stranger asking her to come across the country to care for a child she has never met. In a surprise to everyone she goes and the experience changes her life.

I titled this review quiet because the book is a quiet study of Willa's life. I am a fan of Anne Tyler. I haven't read a book by her that I didn't like. She has the ability to take ordinary characters in ordinary situations and make them interesting. She goes about it in a quiet way. There is nothing flashy in her writing. She writes quiet stories that leave a lasting impression.
Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)

Captivating
I am fascinated and totally entertained by Anne Tyler's writing, and this book was no exception. Anne takes mostly everyday situations, mixes in diverse, often
eccentric characters, and writes quiet stories that draw me right in every time!
Willa's story is told in decades. She lived her life pleasing others. By the end of the book Willa was able to take stock of her life and decide what road she really wanted to be on, and who were the people that she wanted in her life.
Clock Dance was another winner in a very long list of Anne Tyler novels that I have read. She is right up there at the top of the list of "My Favorite Authors".

Beyond the Book:
  Baltimore's Storied Past

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