Anne Tyler as Novelist by Dale Salwak

By Dale Salwak

Essays speak about each one of Tyler's novels and view her topics, kind, plots, and characters.

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Tyler never gives us much background on the Potter sisters. How they are related to the Pikes, if at all, and how they came to share the same house with them, remains a mystery in keeping with the dark, tapestry-draped interior of their section of the house. Their relationships mirrored by the haphazard construction of the house in which they live, the Potter sisters, like the Greens, seem inexplicably tied to the Pikes and their lives. The Tin Can Tree is set in Larksville, a small town of dwindling population in the tobacco-growing area of North Carolina, and reflects Tyler's experiences tying tobacco during the summers of her high-school years and listening to the other tobacco tiers talk.

For ''Family Ways'' and "Loosened Roots" (Hugging the Shore, 1983). Every effort has been made to trace all copyright-holders, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publisher will be pleased to make the necessary arrangement at the first opportunity. Page 1 1 Early Years and Influences Elizabeth Evans Nothing puts writers on their guard faster, than mention of "influence"the suggestion, in a review or critical essay, that their work bears the mark of someone else. Small wonder, too; for when critics use the word it often has a euphemistic ring.

Rapture and homage are not the way. "8 Evidence from writers themselves suggests that "influence" is a complex process and indeed a process that stems as often from the mundane as from the miraculous. "11 For Anne Tyler, as for most writers, "influence" reflects the chances and accidents of her individual lifeher Quaker parents, her formative years living in "blessed communities," her early schooling (mostly from Baltimore's Calvert Home School Program), her major in Russian at Duke University, her marriage to an Iranian child psychiatrist and novelist, her sensitivity to place, her formidable reading.

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