The Beginner’s Goodbye

beginnersgoodbyeI loved Saint Maybe  and Digging to America by Anne Tyler.  She does a great job of building flawed, but empathetic characters.

In The Beginner’s Goodbye features Aaron, a recent widow coping with life after his wife’s death.  He’s the editor at a publishing house that produces a line of “Beginner’s Guide to” books.  Books that help those facing a life challenge with little or no background knowledge.  The analogy being that Aaron has no idea how to lose his wife.

The book follows his grief as he remembers his wife and the realities of his marriage.  He realizes some of his mistakes and, through mysterious visitations from his dead wife, he is able to have conversations with her he wasn’t able to have in life.

I hardly know how to explain the feeling of this book.  On the one hand it’s a simple book.  The story of grief.  On the other hand, in a short book Tyler is able to create these robust characters that become quite real.  I didn’t love the book, but I do love Tyler’s writing.  This isn’t the best of her books, but it is a good book and worth a read.


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