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A bittersweet novel of family and self-discovery from the Sunday Times bestselling, award-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was 11 and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at 21, the accident that would make her a widow at 41. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.

So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman – and her nine-year-old daughter, and her dog -- will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community, and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.

A bittersweet novel of hope and regret, fulfilment and renewal, Clock Dance brings us the everyday life of a woman who decides it’s never too late to change direction, and choose your own path.

'What Tyler does best is to illuminate that life is not about what one achieves but how one gets to that point; and that the most meaningful moments are not always memorable ones but the interstitial spaces and everyday conversations between ordinary people' Jodi Picoult


If Anne Tyler isn't the best writer in the world, who is?

Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

The book we'll all be reading this summer

Louise France, The Times

Clock Dance, rife with the hurts and joys of living, is far more than merely very good... For readers Anne Tyler is a life force; for writers she is simply the best

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

Brims with the qualities that have brought her legions of fans and high critical acclaim. Characters pulse with lifelikeness. The tone flickers between humorous relish and sardonic shrewdness. Dialogue crackles with authenticity. Beneath it all is an insistence that it's never too soon to recognise how quickly life can speed by and never too late to make vitalising changes

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

How does she do it? Her style is deceptively simple. Even though she performs narrative cartwheels that would lead other novelists to be praised as experimental... she does it with such ease that it seems closer to life than to art. it is almost as though we are there to witness time passing, and people changing

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Classic Tyler; she captures the defining moments of love and loss in one middle-aged woman's life and combines it with the ultimate upbeat ending, proving it's never too late to live the life you want

YOU Magazine

The most dependably rewarding novelist now at work in our country... Ms. Tyler’s career reveals a surpassing steadiness – of ambition, theme, output

Wall Street Journal

A smart, touching exploration of altruism and the nature of a meaningful life

Anthony Cummings, Daily Mail

A beautifully crafted, bitter-sweet story about regret, empty nest syndrome, loneliness within a relationship and seeking purpose and fulfilment in life. Kick back and lose yourself in this gem of a novel

Sinead Moriarty & Rick O'Shea, Irish Times

In Anne Tyler’s skilled hands the everyday becomes significant… With beautifully observed characters and infused with quiet humour, this is another triumph

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

Funny and interesting… Tyler’s novel presents a moving portrait of a woman, late in life, discovering an environment in which she can flourish

Pamela Norris, Literary Review

A stellar addition to Tyler's prodigious catalogue

Publishers Weekly

One of this country's great artists...a powerful, stirring work. Tyler has lost none of the inspired grace of her prose, nor her sad, frank humor, nor her limitless sympathy for women who ask for little and get less

USA Today

Her stirring story celebrates the joys of self-discovery and the essential truth that family is ours to define


Tyler's bedazzling yet fathoms-deep feel-good novel is wrought with nimble humour, intricate understanding of emotions and family, place and community – and bounteous pleasure in quirkiness, discovery, and renewal


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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 16, 2018

    Chatto & Windus

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Hardback


    July 15, 2018

    Chatto & Windus

    RRP $55.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    July 12, 2018

    Vintage Digital

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ


Part I


Willa Drake and Sonya Bailey were selling candy bars door-to-door. This was for the Herbert Malone Elementary School Orchestra. If they sold enough, the orchestra would get to travel to the regional competitions in Harrisburg. Willa had never been to Harrisburg, but she liked the harsh, gritty sound of the name. Sonya had been but had no memory of it because she was a baby at the time. Both of them swore they would absolutely die if they didn’t get to go now.

Willa played the clarinet. Sonya played the flute. They were eleven years old. They lived two blocks from each other in Lark City, Pennsylvania, which wasn’t a city at all or even much of a town and in fact didn’t even have sidewalks except on the one street where the stores were. In Willa’s mind, sidewalks were huge. She planned never to live in a place without them after she was grown.

Because of the lack of sidewalks, they weren’t allowed to walk on the roads after dark. So they set out in the afternoon, Willa lugging a carton of candy bars and Sonya holding a manila envelope for the money they hoped to make. They started from Sonya’s house, where they’d first had to finish their homework. Sonya’s mother made them promise to head back as soon as the sun—pale as milk anyhow in mid-February—fell behind the scratchy trees on top of Bert Kane Ridge. Sonya’s mother was kind of a worrier, much more so than Willa’s mother.

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Also by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl
Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant
The Beginner's Goodbye
Noah's Compass
Breathing Lessons
A Patchwork Planet
A Spool of Blue Thread
Half-truths and Semi-miracles
Digging to America
The Amateur Marriage
Back When We Were Grown-ups
Ladder Of Years
Celestial Navigation
Searching For Caleb
The Accidental Tourist
Saint Maybe
Morgan's Passing
Earthly Possessions
If Morning Ever Comes
The Tin Can Tree
The Clock Winder
A Slipping Down Life


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden House
The Bear and The Nightingale
Ready Player One
The Trip of a Lifetime
On Chesil Beach
Animal Farm
The Light Between Oceans
A Long Way from Home
The Travelling Cat Chronicles