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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 37

Anne Tyler

Tyler has cited sociologist Erving Goffman’s studies of the meaning of gestures in personal interactions as a huge influence on her observational writing.

The author of sprawling family dramas on her own epic half-century of writing.
Words by Ben Shattuck. Photograph by Stephen Voss.

At 78, Anne Tyler might have what every writer wants: twenty-two novels to her name, many of which are New York Times bestsellers; a devoted and broad readership; nearly unanimous adoration from critics reinforced by the most prestigious literary awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Tyler, who is known for writing luminously about everyday dramas, was raised in a series of utopian experimental communities in the mountains.  “You’re really an outsider when you come out of those, ” she says. Setting


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Seven

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