A family that could be any of ours

“Well, this is just great,” Jeannie told Denny, her brother. She stripped off her oven mitts and slammed them down next to her plate.

“You waltz on out whenever you like; everything stops for Lord Denny. Everyone’s just thankful you stayed as long as you did; everyone’s falling all over themselves because it’s such a rare and exalted privilege when you honor us with your presence.”

Denny is the black sheep in “this extended/blended/fouled-up family” that could be any of ours, says Rebecca Pepper Sinkler in her New York Times review of Anne Tyler’s book A Spool of Blue Thread.

Jeannie and her siblings don’t give Denny a ride to the train station. It’s Nora, his sister-in-law, who drops him off.

“Don’t forget to keep in touch,” Nora tells him.

“Oh, sure,” Denny says. “I’d never just disappear; they need me around for the drama.”

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