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Searching for Caleb

By (author) Anne Tyler
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage Publishing, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Chatto & Windus
Published: 6th May 1976
Dimensions: w 140mm h 200mm
Weight: 529g
ISBN-10: 0701121688
ISBN-13: 9780701121686
Barcode No: 9780701121686
From the author of LADDER OF YEARS and BREATHING LESSONS. A quest for a family's deepest roots, and a tale of growing up and breaking away, acceptance and rebellion.

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Kirkus US
Anne Tyler returns to the "auras" of old families which she first explored in her novels of the mid-60's. Like the one in The Clock Winder (1972) the Peck clan of Baltimore is "closed around nothing" - bland, uniform, Peck-proud, decorously middle class. There will crop up, now and then, a few who might slip the leash, who want to "get to the bottom of things." Like Duncan who inexplicably marries first cousin Justine, now middle-aged, "lanky, weedy" and a gifted reader of Tarot cards. Justine accompanies her grandfather, Daniel, in his search for that arch maverick, brother Caleb, who simply walked out in 1912 - shortly after posing for a photograph: "in tones of brown, framed in gold. . . playing a violincello while seated in an open stable door twenty feet off the ground." While Justine examines familial connections as carefully as her cards, and Duncan restlessly moves from job to job, place to place, Caleb is found after Daniel's death. Perhaps Caleb's lifelong independent adventure was only a flight, or perhaps a pilgrimage. As Duncan points out, he was "either very dumb or very smart." At the close Justine and Duncan (their daughter, a true Peck, has dissolved into the family landscape) make the final break, taking off with a carnival. Anne Tyler, like her Justine, is skilled in reading signs - from rings of molasses and catsup on a kitchen shelf, to the ghostly substance of old snapshots which hide as much as they state. Miss Tyler is at her most flighty - also twenty feet off the ground - but she always evolves the hardest of insights from the gentlest of people. (Kirkus Reviews)