The Accidental Tourist is a novel written by Anne Tyler in 1985. The novel revolves around protagonist Macon Leary, a writer of travel guides who married to his wife Sarah. However, their marriage breaks down after their son is killed in a shooting at a fast-food restaurant. Macon and his wife Sarah separate and he moves back in with his siblings. The story then sees Macon fall in love with Muriel Pritchett, who is a young woman with a son, and was hired by Macon to train his unruly dog. Although Muriel is unlike Macon's wife Sarah, Macon finds that Muriel keeps him on his feet and always has the element of surprise, which he likes. He decides to move in with Muriel and her son and then his wife Sarah finds out about the situation and asks to reconcile with Macon. The book ends with Macon having to make a difficult decision to choose between the two.
The story was written by the author to display to readers the grief that can arise out of losing a child and how even though that love is lost, it can be regained in another way. For Macon, that love was being with Muriel and her son and spending time with them. However, the author also wrote the story to illustrate the difficulties that a person can face in like, when they have to make a difficult decision as Macon has to. .
The book was received well by critics and readers, and Larry McMurtry of the New York Times commended the author on the clarity of the characters. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 1985. The book has also been turned into a full-feature film as of 1988.