Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Week 11: State - Maryland (and Washington D.C.)
A Patchwork Planet was first published in 1998 and like many of Anne Tyler's novels is set in Baltimore. I've read the book over the last week and as I've fallen behind schedule I won't be posting a separate review. It's not the kind of book I would normally read and I found her writing a little too whimsical for my tastes, though I understand this is part of the appeal to her fan base and A Patchwork Planet has been largely praised elsewhere. It's also the first book on this trip where I've felt the setting hasn't played a large role as a character in the story. The plot focuses on a divorced 30-year-old former juvenile from Baltimore who has proved to be a disappointment to his affluent family from Guilford by not amounting to anything more than his dead-end career as a handyman for the elderly. Guilford is a distinctive residential neighbourhood in the northern part of Baltimore comprising of 680 family dwellings ranging from modest homes to stately mansions, many with swimming pools, extensive landscaping and old-fashioned streetlights. There are also a number of scenes set in Penn Station, the main train station in Baltimore (built 1911) and the eighth busiest rail station in the United States.
Next: West Virginia