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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

From the best-selling author of A Spool of Blue Thread, an offbeat love story about missteps, second chances and the elusive art of human connection.

Micah Mortimer isn’t the most polished person you’ll ever meet. His numerous sisters and in-laws regard him oddly but very fondly, but he has his ways and means of navigating the world. He measures out his days running errands for work – his TECH HERMIT sign cheerily displayed on the roof of his car - maintaining an impeccable cleaning regime and going for runs (7:15 every morning). He is content with the steady balance of his life.

But then the order of things starts to tilt. His woman friend Cassia (he refuses to call anyone in her late 30s a ‘girlfriend’) tells him she’s facing eviction because of a cat. And when a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son, Micah is confronted with another surprise he seems poorly equipped to handle.  

Redhead by the Side of the Road is an intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who sometimes finds those around him just out of reach - and a love story about the differences that make us all unique.

©2020 Anne Tyler (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Redhead by the Side of the Road

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  • jenni
  • 05-06-20

Brilliantly performed charming story

Anne Tyler is word perfect in this charming story . And it was brought to life beautifully by the performance in this recording. More! More!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-04-20

Wonderful and poignant

I listened to this book in one session in my garden in Canterbury, Kent UK on a glorious spring day. We are in lockdown because of COVID-19, but I was able to be in another place for a while, which was blissful. Beautifully read, and Anne Tyler is so adept at observing and reflecting on human nature in a way that makes me smile outside and inside. Superb.

9 people found this helpful

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  • bookylady
  • 19-05-20

Anne Tyler does it again.

You can always rely on Anne Tyler to come up with a quirky way to look at family life and this novel is no exception. Her novels are usually based on the lives of ordinary people who find themselves in unusual or extraordinary circumstances. Life-changing events are often involved and Tyler expertly draws out the humanity in these events and in the methods/solutions characters adopt to resolve their difficulties. In this story Tyler chooses to focus on a man, Micah Mortimer, who appears to have a 'little' life, stuck in a rut though he does not know it and finding personal relationships quite difficult to navigate. His family and neighbours describe him as odd but his customers (he runs a computing business) love him. His girlfriend clearly cares for him but has no idea where she stands with him. For Micah, a tech geek, college dropout and confirmed bachelor, life is all about routines and sticking to them. That is until one day he returns home from his normal morning run to find a young man sitting on his doorstep. The young man, Brink, turns Micah's world upside -down and forces him to reassess everything he thought he knew about his life and dealing with other people. This is a masterpiece in spare writing, in succinct prose and in keeping things simple. Very, very good and one of Anne Tyler's best. It is not very long but it does prove the point that quality is always preferable to quantity.

4 people found this helpful

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  • pennyforthem
  • 02-05-20

Really enjoyed this.

This is lovely. Gentle funny, well observed and very well narrated. Also not too long.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gail Sheppard
  • 24-04-20

anne tyler on top form

brilliant Anne Tyler at her best with her usual astute observation of people's everyday lives which show how much drama there is. beautifully observed characters and such wonderful family conversations.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-10-20

Meh...

Read really well, written well even, just unfortunately kept waiting for something to happen and it doesn't. Overall don't regret listening to it. It's just that it's the uneventful day to day of a person and some people in his life. It's vanilla yogurt... at room temperature.

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  • Karen
  • 23-08-20

Gentle and touching

Loved the depiction of Mika and the way his random encounter and connection with the past begins to shape his future. The narrator has a beautiful, soothing voice. I’ll be looking for more books narrated by him!

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  • Jo
  • 02-08-20

Lovely writing but didn't feel it rose up to much

I love Anne Tyler's writing so I enjoyed this but I don't think it will stay with me and I probably wouldn't recommend it to a friend. It's a neat conceit and handles human vulnerability in a lovely way, but for me it didn't stand out.

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  • Liz
  • 17-04-20

Another bewitching Tyler novel

Short enough to be a novella, but rich enough with missed opportunities that I can feel it still unfolding after I've finished it. Filled with the trademark Tyler rich characters, I whiizzed through this in one sitting. It ends a little abruptly and is fairly short, but those are my only quibbles. Though I did rather want to slap the teenager for being so entitled, but rather par for the course really. Strongly recommend whether you're new to her novels or a long time fan like me. It's veery lovely

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  • Claire Curtis-Thomas
  • 14-11-20

Good but not necessarily for the right reasons

A bit predictable, and the possible predictable outcomes suggest an “either or story,” and these ever present binary possibilities mean that your distracted from fully appreciating the very good descriptions of the tedium of the ordinary. Left me thinking that the main character and I shared similar feelings.

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  • DIDI
  • 09-09-20

A very ordinary life.

A beautifully scripted story of one mans very ordinary life. Full of the minutiae of that ordinariness as the protagonist struggles to find a purpose in middle age and to finally recognise the importance of relationships

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  • elizabeth b.
  • 09-05-20

Gentle

I have always loved anne Tyler’s stories and haven’t read her for a while. What a gentle easy read. No fishy cuffs or gun fights. The protagonist is not a murderer nor a huge personality. He is a gentle loaner who gets it all wrong sad really.

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  • Madonna
  • 02-11-20

redhead by the side of the road.

Lovely little stor of self realisation. left my wanting to know more, but that is a strategy in itself

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-08-20

I wanted to like this more, but it was OK.

I have previously enjoyed Anne Tyler, and with this book on the longlist for 'The Booker' I thought it would be a winner. Tyler crafted some beautifully quirky and distinct moments, which I loved, but the weave holding them together was a bit flat for me. Overall OK, I don't think I'd listen again.