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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant Hardcover – Large Print, Jan 1 1983


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 427 pages
  • Publisher: G K Hall & Co; Lrg edition (January 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816134383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816134380
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)


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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By fran on July 17 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautiful, brilliant, the best Tyler ever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Janet Babins TOP 100 REVIEWER on Dec 25 2011
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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