• A Spool of Blue Thread

  • By: Anne Tyler
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-10-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.6 (24 ratings)

Regular price: $25.58

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Publisher's Summary

The Sunday Times best seller
Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Fiction prize
A Richard and Judy Book Club pick
"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..."
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.
From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century - four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home....
©2015 Anne Tyler (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"She’s changed my perception on life." (Anna Chancellor)
"One of my favourite authors." (Liane Moriarty)
"She spins gold." (Elizabeth Buchan)
"Anne Tyler has no peer." (Anita Shreve)
"My favourite writer, and the best line-and-length novelist in the world." (Nick Hornby)
"A masterly author." (Sebastian Faulks)
"Tyler is not merely good, she is wickedly good." (John Updike)
"I love Anne Tyler." (Anita Brookner)
"Her fiction has strength of vision, originality, freshness, unconquerable humour." (Eudora Welty)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Heather on 11-28-15


A deep and rich evocation of family. Anne Tyler creates yet another wonderful world full of the details that make fiction seem even more vivid than life. A writer at the peak of her imaginative powers sharing with us her wisdom and insight on the frailty and wonder of what it means to belong to the people we are related to.

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5 out of 5 stars
By BanksiaMama on 06-17-15


Ah, Tyler does it again! So satisfying and complete. Heart filled and sweeping extended family drama with unexpected forays and a good ending.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 05-23-16

Not For Me

I love many of Anne Tyler's books and have read almost of them I think. But this is the second audio book of hers I have bought and I didn't enjoy either of them. Maybe I chose the wrong books, or maybe they work better for me 'in my head' rather than being read to.

I see from the reviews of this recording that views are polarized - but several reviewers said they found it boring and so did I.

The gentleness of her writing and skillful character drawing are both present in this book - the problem really began with me realizing about 25% of the way in, that I didn't like any of the characters she had drawn, except maybe one of Abby's daughters. The elder son just annoyed me, as did the family's rather pathetic 'fear' of him and his casually nasty behaviour. Then we veered off into a distant back-story...I was bored by this point and I considered abandoning it, but I kept going.

The story goes back and forth and though there are some plot twists, nothing much really happens. I don't usually mind that, as long as the journey is rewarding but for me, it was not.

The narration was OK; it did seem to match the dull, rather whiny tone of the book. No-one was ever really happy it seemed; but no-one was unhappy enough to tackle it. So the family, much like the book, just drift.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By M. Price on 06-05-16

Seamless Sewing at it's Best!

I absolutely loved this book in all its multi-layered glory.Kimberly Farr does an exquisite job of the narration, each character's voice clearly resounding, making the story come alive. I won't talk about the plot as it would spoil Ann Tyler's twists and turns, but the writing is beautiful and the characters take on a life of their own. Suffice to say that if you purchase this book you won't regret it.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Belinda on 05-15-15

Loved it!

An excellent and intriguing story of an ordinary family.

Spans across generations to show what makes us who we are.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 03-12-16

Fascinating and engaging read

Would you consider the audio edition of A Spool of Blue Thread to be better than the print version?

I have only listened to the audio edition

Who was your favorite character and why?

Linnie Mae, I think because of her innocence at some level and her strength to follow through with her love for Junior no matter what - I saw her as a strong character who did not succumb to Junior's authority but worked her wishes around the relationship.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Many, the swing on the porch story! There was also a lovely point where Abbey is welcomed by Linnie in the kitchen.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Not sure really

Any additional comments?

I would have liked the book to have developed the characters further, I would have liked to hear Nora's voice, what were her thoughts, I would have liked to have heard more of Denny's voice - the ending seemed to leap and be a bit hurried. I think there could have been more development of the overall story to bring it together a bit more some aspects seem to be brushed over so why where they in the story - on the other hand, is this not what families are like over time, some people are not remembered as well to all members and their lives are hidden for no special reason other than what some people focus on as having meaning to them.

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