The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler This novel is like a placid pond where the calm surface shows little of the depth of activity beneath. A simple, elegant story about a man existing in the year after his wife's death. I say "existing" because Tyler's protagonist is very slow to contemplate or to let us know his feelings about virtually anything, especially anything painful to him. He refuses to confront, suffer, or even acknowledge any adversity in his life, even his own physical handicaps--often leaving his cane aside despite the discomfort it causes him to do so. Like peeling an onion, we slowly get deeper and deeper into the layers of feelings and past events to eventually achieve understanding in this very subtle character study. Through it all Tyler merely reveals the characters for us to see. No judgment. No condemnation. No explanations. Virtually no commentary at all. The story is what it is---a gentle yet deeply introspective study of what makes people act the way they do and how we find our place of comfort in the world and chose the people to share it with. Classic Tyler, which is very high praise. 4 1/2 stars.