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  • Published: 16 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708597
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

Clock Dance

A bittersweet novel of family and self-discovery from the Sunday Times bestselling, award-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread

A bittersweet novel of family and self-discovery from the bestselling, award-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: her mother’s disappearance when she was just a child, being proposed to at an airport at the age of twenty-one, the accident that would leave her a widow in her forties. Each time, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.

So when she receives a phone call from a stranger informing her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman and her nine-year-old daughter leads Willa into uncharted territory and the eventual realisation that it’s never too late to choose your own path.

'She is and always will be my favourite author' Liane Moriarty

  • Pub date: 16 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708597
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her bestselling novels include Breathing Lessons, The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Ladder of Years, Back When We Were Grownups, A Patchwork Planet, The Amateur Marriage, Digging to America, A Spool of Blue Thread and Vinegar Girl.

In 1989 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons; in 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'; in 2012 she received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence; and in 2015 A Spool of Blue Thread was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize.

Also by Anne Tyler

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Praise for Clock Dance

“If Anne Tyler isn't the best writer in the world, who is?”

Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

“One of our greatest living fiction writers and if I was in charge, she'd have a Nobel by now”

Julie Myerson, Observer

“Brims with the qualities that have brought her legions of fans and high critical acclaim. Characters pulse with lifelikeness. The tone flickers between humorous relish and sardonic shrewdness. Dialogue crackles with authenticity. Beneath it all is an insistence that it's never too soon to recognise how quickly life can speed by and never too late to make vitalising changes”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“How does she do it? Her style is deceptively simple. Even though she performs narrative cartwheels that would lead other novelists to be praised as experimental... she does it with such ease that it seems closer to life than to art. it is almost as though we are there to witness time passing, and people changing”

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

“A writer sharp-eyed as a butcher-bird, skewering complacency... an immensely funny writer... a quiet writer, in that much of her skill goes toward the excision of anything that reminds the reader they are reading”

Patrick Gale, Sunday Telegraph

“Clock Dance, rife with the hurts and joys of living, is far more than merely very good... For readers Anne Tyler is a life force; for writers she is simply the best”

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

“A smart, touching exploration of altruism and the nature of a meaningful life”

Anthony Cummings, Daily Mail

“A beautifully crafted, bitter-sweet story about regret, empty nest syndrome, loneliness within a relationship and seeking purpose and fulfilment in life. Kick back and lose yourself in this gem of a novel”

Sinead Moriarty & Rick O'Shea, Irish Times

“My favourite author… She writes such absorbing, wise, tender books, devastatingly acute about human nature… She never fails”

Jacqueline Wilson

“The loneliness and confusion of childhood are wonderfully rendered...reminiscent of Tyler's best work, such as Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”

Molly McCloskey, Guardian

“Classic Tyler; she captures the defining moments of love and loss in one middle-aged woman's life and combines it with the ultimate upbeat ending, proving it's never too late to live the life you want”

YOU Magazine

“Tyler remains my most trusted literary companion… Freedom, flight, oxygen, breath, space: these themes whistle through Clock Dance's pages”

Rebecca Swirsky, New Statesman

“Full of small delights... She has a keen eye and an alert ear, sympathy for her characters, an awareness of both life's comedy and its tragedy”

Alan Massie, Scotsman

“In Anne Tyler’s skilled hands the everyday becomes significant… With beautifully observed characters and infused with quiet humour, this is another triumph”

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

“Tyler's tenderness with her protagonists shouldn't be undervalued; this, along with her attention to detail when it comes to the minutiae of quotidian life, is what makes one keep reading”


“Funny and interesting… Tyler’s novel presents a moving portrait of a woman, late in life, discovering an environment in which she can flourish”

Pamela Norris, Literary Review

“The book we'll all be reading this summer”

Louise France, The Times

“A stellar addition to Tyler's prodigious catalogue”

Publishers Weekly

“The most dependably rewarding novelist now at work in our country... Ms. Tyler’s career reveals a surpassing steadiness – of ambition, theme, output”

Wall Street Journal

“I adore her and find her books immensely comforting. I loved her latest [Clock Dance]. It's such a bold book... a novel that encourages you to play the shrink”

Patrick Gale, Observer

“Tyler has a keen eye and an alert ear, sympathy for her characters, an awareness of both life’s comedy and its tragedy”

Allan Massie

“One of this country's great artists...a powerful, stirring work. Tyler has lost none of the inspired grace of her prose, nor her sad, frank humor, nor her limitless sympathy for women who ask for little and get less”

USA Today

“Her stirring story celebrates the joys of self-discovery and the essential truth that family is ours to define”


“Tyler's bedazzling yet fathoms-deep feel-good novel is wrought with nimble humour, intricate understanding of emotions and family, place and community – and bounteous pleasure in quirkiness, discovery, and renewal”


“I never look at a family, or a couple in a car, or a funeral cortege without thinking: "I wonder what's going on there." That's what Anne Tyler teaches you: never judge a cover until you've read its book”

Ann Treneman, The Times

“Tyler captures the quiet turmoil of family life with the utmost discretion, knowing that to understand it is not the same as being able to subordinate it”

Alex Clark, Times Literary Supplement

“Rigorously intelligent, quietly funny and very precise about words”

Mark Lawson, Radio Times

“A beautifully observed portrait of one woman’s quiet quest for identity and purpose”

Hannah Beckerman, Sunday Express

“Clock Dance is moving, funny acute… This is a beautifully structured work of fiction, full of narrative tension, which moves towards a fine diminuendo, followed by a crisis of possibility”

Linsay Duguid, The Tablet

“A lovely novel following the author’s usual theme of hope and regret, renewal and contentment”


“Tyler has the ability to bring character to life in just a few sentences”

Claire Allfree, Metro

“Anne Tyler’s astute new novel Clock Dance is fuelled by kindness, kindness that begins tentatively with false starts and blind spots and grows into the extravagant all-encompassing sort”

Susan Boyt, Financial Times

“I loved Clock Dance”

Cressida Connolly, Spectator

“Warmly appealing and sharply observant...combines comic relish with psychological and social shrewdness. Characters pulse with lifelikeness. Dialogue crackles with authenticity. Changes brought about by time are fascinatedly and fascinatingly observed”

Sunday Times

“A moving, often spiky study of relationships and the far-reaching effects of trauma”

Daily Telegraph

“A thought-provoking story that resonates with emotional depth”

Neil Armstrong and Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday, *Summer reads of 2019*

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