Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler [in Booklist]
At under five hours, Anne Tyler’s latest is her shortest, but all her usual ingredients for a satisfying listen are here: familiar Baltimore setting, characters who evolve, family and friends with memorable sideline storylines.
Fitting easily into Tyler’s pantheon of repeating narrators (Blair Brown, Kimberly Farr, etc.) is veteran MacLeod Andrews making his Tyler debut. Affable with a hint of impatience, Andrews provides just the right balance of exacting, puzzled, and genuinely concerned as middle-aged loner Micah Mortimer. A man of perpetual, persnickety habits – 7:15 morning runs, Thursday kitchen cleanings – Micah is the on-call Tech Hermit, venturing out to repair other people’s computer problems. At home, he’s his apartment building’s superintendent.
Then one day, he runs home to find teenager Brink, who thinks Micah might be his bio-dad, solely because Micah is more lackadaisical than Brink’s own performance-driven parents. Brink’s overnight stay causes Micah’s not-girlfriend Cass to rethink their relationship. Micah, too, is going to need some serious readjusting.
Andrews convinces throughout as frustrated Cass, ornery Brink, Brink’s exasperated mother, Lorna; he’s memorably facile with gatherings, especially an extended Mortimer family meal. The more the merrier indeed!
Review: “Media,” Booklist, June 1, 2020