Life according to

Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler book cover

On love and marriage

'Abby had a little trick that she used any time Red acted like a cranky old codger. She reminded herself of the day she had fallen in love with him. "It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon," she’d begin, and it would all come back to her – the newness of it, the whole new world magically opening before her at the moment when she first realized that this person that she’d barely noticed all these years was, in fact, a treasure.'

- A Spool of Blue Thread


On the meaning of life

'"Everything," his father said, "comes down to time in the end – to the passing of time, to changing. Ever thought of that? Anything that makes you happy or sad, isn't it all based on minutes going by? Isn't sadness wishing time back again? Even big things – even mourning a death: aren't you really just wishing to have the time back when that person was alive? Or photos – ever notice old photographs? How wistful they make you feel? ... Isn't it just that time for once is stopped that makes you wistful? If only you could turn it back again, you think. If only you could change this or that, undo what you have done, if only you could roll the minutes the other way, for once."'

- Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant


On parents

'I mean you're given all these lessons for the unimportant things – piano-playing, typing. You're given years and years of lessons in how to balance equations, which Lord knows you will never have to do in normal life. But how about parenthood? Or marriage, either, come to think of it. Before you can drive a car you need a state-approved course of instruction, but driving a car is nothing, nothing, compared to living day in and day out with a husband and raising up a new human being.'

- Breathing Lessons

On money

'Because the fact was he didn’t have any friends, not since Ward Builders shut down and he’d lost touch with the other workmen. (To be social, a person needed money – or men did, at any rate. They needed to buy liquor and hamburgers and gas; they couldn’t just sit around idle, chitchatting the way women did).'

- A Spool of Blue Thread



On death

'Bravest thing about people, Miss Joan, is how they go on loving mortal beings after finding out there's such a thing as dying.'

- The Tin Can Tree

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