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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Anne Tyler
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1983
"A book that should join those few that every literate person will have to read."
Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not her memory. Ever since 1944 when her husband left her, she has raised her three very different children on her own. Now grown, they have gathered together--with anger, with hope, and with a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell....
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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“Beautiful . . . funny, heart-hammering, wise . . . Superb entertainment.”
–The New York Times

“A book that should join those few that every literate person will have to read.”
–The Boston Globe

“A novelist who knows what a proper story is . . . [Tyler is] not only a good and artful writer, but a wise one as well.”

“Anne Tyler is surely one of the most satisfying novelists working in America today.”
–Chicago Tribune

“In her ninth novel she has arrived at a new level of power.”
–JOHN UPDIKE, The New Yorker

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

I first read this book back in 1984, long before I was in the publishing business. I was traveling through Greece with a friend and our hotel had shelves of books that other guests had left behind and were free for the taking.. I picked up Dinner.... knowing absolutely nothing about it. What a wonderful surprise and discovery!. I felt I had never read anything quite like it.The characters were so real, so familiar that I felt I did actually know them. In fact, for weeks after I finished the book, I had dreams about Ezra, one of the characters in the book and the owner of the Homesick Restaurant. In the dreams, he was my brother and he was just as sweet and vulnerable as he was in the book. I never re-read books because I'm usually disappointed the second time around because the sense of newness and discovery is gone. But I did read Dinner.... again and loved it as much, and even found new things I hadn't noticed before. This novel is truly a classic.
--Maureen O'Neal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
While all of us are aware of the author's propensity for the development of `quirky', if not fully believable characters, this novel is quite different. For any of us who were reared in a dysfunctional or broken family, you will find bits of your soul strewn here and there throughout the reading of this tragedy. The angry and over-achieving son who harbours the hurt and guilt of his childhood, the flippant and non-committal daughter who stays busy with the life of others such that she does not have to deal with the reality of her own, the favored son who, while initially escaping the brunt of maternal anger, ages into a man-child unaware of life outside of his closely drawn circle of life, the rejected mother who while exuding anger, shame and a lack of control, sees herself as sacrificing any joys she may have had for the sake of raising her children into being something that she could no longer be, and, finally, the father, who left with little forewarning, lives out the rest of his life still psychologically enmeshed by continuing to seek his abandoned wife's approval and, doing so, is unable to venture beyond the front door that he walked out of decades earlier.

Anne Tyler leaves us with no answers and little hope for the enmeshed dysfunction of American families. We all live out our damaged lives with a sense of desperation for what we cannot become while feeling locked into the role and mindset that we were originally cast into through circumstances that were beyond our control..............
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4.0 out of 5 stars Family Life Can Turn into a Train Wreck May 29 2004
For those readers familiar with Tyler's more recent works, such as _Amateur Marriage_, _Ladder of Years_, or _Back When We Were Grownups_, _Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant_ will undoubtedly be found jolting in its portrayal of some rather disturbing characters, even malevolent, in the context of family.
As Pearl Tull lies on her death bed, _Dinner_ recapitulates the lives of the Tull family over nearly fifty years. Pearl, the mother of Cody, Ezra, and Jenny, never recovered from the abrupt abandonment by her husband Beck after fourteen years of marriage, some thirty-five years prior. But Pearl has problems beyond a marriage gone awry. She is unusually harsh and critical, and even abusive, with her children, exhibits almost no understanding of them, is quick to take offense or misconstrue situations, and is obsessed with appearances, hers and theirs, even pretending for years that her husband had not left. Cody is absolutely malicious in his dealings with his younger brother Ezra dating from his teenage years into middle-age. Jenny, after two failed marriages, manages to get through medical school but not without first being physically abusive towards her own daughter and then becoming strangely oblivious to the needs of her family in a third marriage.
Ezra, the balancing humane element of the book, becomes a partner, with a worldly, elderly lady, in a restaurant near his childhood Baltimore row home, where he still lives with Pearl, despite his mother's abhorrence at the idea. After becoming the sole owner, Ezra remakes the restaurant in his own image, making it unpretentious and home-like, hence the Homesick Restaurant. Ezra makes several attempts to gather the family for dinners at his restaurant through the years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TOUCH OF REALITY! Dec 25 2011
By Janet Babins TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story begins with 85 year old Pearl Tull, blind and on her deathbed reminiscing about her life, her fears, regrets and her three children. Ezra, her youngest son is at her side when her final words are spoken "you should have got... You should have got an extra mother is what she meant to say."

It was in 1944, on Baltimore's Calvert Street, when her husband, Beck, deserts her and the family. There are three children. Jenny, a determined and strong minded girl, Cody, the eldest son, interested in money and power and Ezra, the youngest, a sweet and gentle boy who is his mother's favourite child. Pearl has never recovered from her husband's abandonment and tells the children to tell other people that their father is away on business.

Pearl is wrapped up in herself and her own feelings. She is domineering, critical of her children, always negative, narrow-minded and never satisfied. She is very hard working and bringing up children on her own is tough. There are days when her temper flares up and she just can't control herself. When that happens, she becomes abusive by throwing Cody down a flight of stairs and at times hitting Jenny and Ezra so hard, leaving scars. Their father's sudden departure has affected the children badly and in different ways. Cody is angry and every chance he has, he takes it out on his younger brother by treating him cruelly. He is also angry when his mother displays favoritism toward his younger brother. Ezra, with his gentle nature keeps everything inside, always hoping that one day there will be peace and harmony in their family. Their sister Jenny doesn't feel like she belongs and becomes distant.

Cody leaves home to go to university. He becomes a successful efficiency expert.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS!
Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not of her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore's Calvert Street, abandoning... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2011 by Louise Jolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Really A Great Experience!
Anne Tyler is quirky, but a master writer and this is her best! Her way with a story is amazing! I've read twelve of Tyler's novels and this is by far my favorite. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Grozarks
4.0 out of 5 stars The Typical Dysfunctional Family
Dinner at the Homesick Resaurant engages the reader by sharing a slightly altering story as it is told by each member of the family. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004 by Blaire Monroe
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Family
Anne Tyler does it again with her extraordinary ability to create offbeat characters that the reader comes to care deeply about. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003 by Julie anne Saldate
4.0 out of 5 stars Dinner table conflict as a metaphor for life
Anne Tyler uses multiple points of view in this, one of her best loved books, tale to flesh out all the relationships and conflicts in the Tull family. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2003 by Peggy Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Anne Tyler's best...I loved every minute of this book. Each character is complex and interesting in their own way. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2003 by JacMac
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Her Best
I have read a lot of Anne Tyler, but for some reason, this one slipped by until now, but I don't know why. It is clearly one of her best, if not her best, novel. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2003 by Elizabeth Hendry
5.0 out of 5 stars Homesick
The brothers in this novel are so real that I believe I know them.
Tyler shows family relationships not as we wish them to be, but as they often are: the brothers' sibling... Read more
Published on Dec 15 2002 by Barbara Spring
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for English classes anymore...
I am an AP (Advanced Placement) English student, and I was required to read this book as one of the summer selections previous to my senior year. Read more
Published on June 21 2002 by steelfaerie
4.0 out of 5 stars Family Story
My mom is a big Anne Tyler fan and she gave me this book a long time ago and I finally picked it up. It was good. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2002 by Abby
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