The Accidental Tourist


In The New York Times, Larry McMurtry says, "Tyler shows, with a fine clarity, the mingling of misery and contentment in the daily lives of her families, reminds us how alike--and yet distinct--happy and unhappy families can be. Muriel Pritchett is as appealing a woman as Miss Tyler has created; and upon the quiet Macon she lavishes the kind of intelligent consideration that he only intermittently gets from his own womenfolk".[2]

Michiko Kakutani wrote, "It is from just such private lives that Miss Tyler herself has spun her own minutely detailed art, rendering them with such warmth and fidelity that her readers, too, are startled into a new appreciation of the ordinary and mundane. Like John Updike, she has taken as her fictional territory that sprawling American landscape of the middle class, and in 10 novels now, she has claimed as her special province the family in all its contrary dimensions."[3]

In contrast to most critics, John Blades, in the Chicago Tribune, wrote a scathing review: "In an age of dissonant, aggressive fiction, Tyler has established herself as a voice of sweet reason, the heiress apparent to Eudora Welty as the earth mother of American writers. For all Tyler`s seductive qualities--the great charm and coziness of her fictional universe, her compassion for misfits, and, not least, her soothing, almost tranquilizing voice--there is something annoyingly synthetic about the work itself. However wise and wonderful, her fiction is seriously diluted by the promiscuous use of artificial sweeteners, a practice that has made Tyler our foremost NutraSweet novelist."[4]

Edward Hoagland wrote in the New York Times,"Macon Leary, the magnificently decent yet ordinary man in The Accidental Tourist, follows logic to its zany conclusions, and in doing this justifies...the catch-as-catch-can nature of much of life, making us realize that we are probably missing people of mild temperament in our own acquaintance who are heroes, too, if we had Ms. Tyler's eye for recognizing them....Muriel, the man-chaser and man-saver of The Accidental Tourist, ranks among the more endearing characters of postwar literature."[5]

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