Picks and Pans Review: Morgan's Passing

updated 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Anne Tyler

In her last novel, Earthly Possessions, Tyler's heroine is abducted by an inept bank robber, and the two travel together until they come to need one another, their lives altered forever. In this, her eighth novel, Morgan, the male protagonist, tries to be whatever others want. He and his wife, a woman of some wealth, have seven daughters and a big household that includes his mother and sister. Morgan works at his in-laws' hardware store, but he lives several fantasy lives and becomes involved with a young couple who stage puppet shows. All their lives undergo upheaval. The novel provides vivid characters in extraordinary depth and fullness, and Tyler makes their remarkable eccentricities seem genuine and even endearing. The author's attention to detail is awesome; her language is beautifully tuned. To read about her people is to love them, and to love them is to suffer. (Knopf, $9.95)

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