• French Braid

  • A Novel
  • By: Anne Tyler
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (792 ratings)

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French Braid  By  cover art

French Braid

By: Anne Tyler
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning author—a funny, joyful, brilliantly perceptive journey deep into one Baltimore family’s foibles, from a boyfriend with a red Chevy in the 1950s up to a longed-for reunion with a grandchild in our pandemic present.

The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever leave home, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy has trouble resisting the siren call of her aspirations to be a painter, which means less time keeping house for her husband, Robin. Their teenage daughters, steady Alice and boy-crazy Lily, could not have less in common. Their youngest, David, is already intent on escaping his family's orbit, for reasons none of them understand. Yet, as these lives advance across decades, the Garretts' influences on one another ripple ineffably but unmistakably through each generation.

Full of heartbreak and hilarity, French Braid is classic Anne Tyler: a stirring, uncannily insightful novel of tremendous warmth and humor that illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives, the impossibility of breaking free from those who love us, and how close—yet how unknowable—every family is to itself.

©2022 Anne Tyler (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Lushly imagined, psychologically intricate, virtually inhalable.... At every leap, Tyler balances gracefully between tenderness and piquant humor, her insights into human nature luminous. Tyler is a phenomenon, each of her novels feels fresh and incisive, and this charming family tale will be honey for her fans.” — Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred)

“Well-crafted . . . Affecting . . . As always, Tyler offers both comfort and surprise.” Publishers Weekly

“More lovely work from Tyler, still vital and creative . . . In her 24th novel, Tyler once again unravels the tangled threads of family life. This familiar subject always seems fresh in her hands because Tyler draws her characters and their interactions in such specific and revealing detail . . . [She] understands that the domestic world can contain the universe.” Kirkus Reviews  

Dear Listener,

What compelled me to write 70 years of a fictional family's history?
"Some years ago, a friend who’d developed an interest in genealogy offered to look into my family tree. He already had some information about my father’s relatives, but he knew less about my mother’s, so he sat down with me one day to see what information I could give him.
'Well,' I said, 'there’s my mother’s sister, Aunt Marjorie. She lives in—'
'Oh, she’s dead,' he told me.
I said, 'She is?' Then after a moment I said, 'Well, there’s Aunt Rose Ann; she’s the widow of my mother’s—'
'She’s dead too,' he said.
I sat back and looked at him.
How could I have missed hearing this? It was true that I’d never seen much of them, but why hadn’t I learned they were gone?
Or, as Serena says in French Braid, what makes a family not work?
I’m not talking about explosive breakups, or disinheritances, or never-speaking-again situations. I just wonder why some apparently amiable families fail to stay connected. And many of them, I suspect, couldn’t answer that themselves.
That’s why I started writing about the Garretts, the family at the center of French Braid. No villains, no heroes; just your average people. I hope you’ll grow fond of them, in spite of their obvious flaws." – Anne Tyler, writer of French Braid

What listeners say about French Braid

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Definitely not my favorite

The last couple books I've read by Tyler have been quite disappointing. Characters that are not relatable nor very inviting and the plot is rather meh. I've waded through reluctantly. Think I'm done with this author, too bad, she's great with words, but needs help on characters and plot .

5 people found this helpful

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So…not exactly a page turner

Not much story here, almost no plot. Some excellent character sketches as one expects from Ann Tyler, but not much else. The experience of listening was excruciating- the readers voice is so unpleasant that I nearly gave up. Not sure how that choice got made, it did nothing to enhance a soso book

4 people found this helpful

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No one is revealed.

I rarely write a review but this time it seems necessary. This story is about a family of people who never share their true feelings with one another or, as far as the reader knows, with themselves. It certainly demonstrates how a human family can stay somewhat (but barely) connected over decades having little real interest in one another nor any desire to share themselves.

4 people found this helpful

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Family

Simple is often the best . Ann Tyler knows how to take a simple family history & weave it into an entertaining masterpiece . This is the American version of the great writers like Dickens & Mark Twain who knew how to unload a tale that will last for ages & be studied by generations of Americans what the last century was all about in simple terms .

4 people found this helpful

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Not worth the time

This story is so banal. I had to keep going to see if anything would happen but it was just went on and on. I realize it was a family saga but still. It felt so dated and like a Hallmark movie. I really can’t recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Anne Tyler does it again

My heart is bruised and hopeful. Anne Tyler captures the human condition in everyday vignettes.

3 people found this helpful

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A new Tyler family of fascinating people.

Tyler books create characters I genuinely want to know! This story is no exception. They are simultaneously curious and normal, memorable and ordinary, independent and fiercely dependent on one another. So glad to have met them!

3 people found this helpful

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A wonderful story about family

I have loved everyone of Anne Tyler's books and this was no exception. At times I laughed out loud and others I was touched to tears. The narrator was perfect for the story too.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Story, So-So Narration

it wasn't my favorite Ann Tuler. but she always tells a good story with characters that feel real. I didn't like the narration. The simulated male and children's voices really grated.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Waste of time/1 Credit

Dumb, pointless, rambling, no character development or value to story line over a family’s generational growth.
Would not recommend !

1 person found this helpful