A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, Micah Mortimer seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his significant other tells him she's facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son.
Tyler knows what she’s doing ... This Baltimore is singularly Anne Tyler’s spool, ladder and planet. And Anne Tyler knows that memory is a powerhouse, a compass and also a liar ... Tyler has every gift a great novelist needs: intent observation, empathy and language both direct and surprising. She has unembarrassed goodness as well. In this time of snark, preening, sub-tweeting and the showy torment of characters, we could use more Tyler.
But reading this enjoyable novel—her 23rd—it struck me that there can’t be a writer, of either gender, who creates more engaging or multi-dimensional men ... Tyler rarely disappoints, but this is her best novel in some time—slender, unassuming, almost cautious in places, yet so very finely and energetically tuned, so apparently relaxed, almost flippantly so, but actually supremely sophisticated. Slippery, too ... Tyler’s ability to make you care about her characters is amazing, and never more so than here.
... heartwarming balm for jangled nerves. Once again, she burrows so convincingly into the quotidian details of her main character's life, home, and head that you have to wonder if she's some sort of Alexa-gone-rogue ... has a lot going for it, beginning with its alluring title. But I'm not going to give away anything about that roadside presence except to say that the redhead is a lovely metaphor for the protagonist's inability to see clearly, which causes him to misread the relationships in his life ... The narrative's tone is warm and wry ... The wry touches are plentiful and funny ... Anne Tyler's novels are always worth scooping up — but especially this gently amusing soother, right now, when all of our cherished routines have been disrupted.