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  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781784744625
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $48.00

French Braid

The Sunday Times Bestseller

A stand-out new family novel from the critically acclaimed, Booker-prize shortlisted author of A Spool of Blue Thread


A brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family's foibles, from the 1950s right up to the changed world of today

When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone is determined not to notice.

Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won't allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.

Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts' family life over the decades, whether that's a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.

And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It's the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

'Gorgeous, charming, profound, and written with such lightness of touch' MARIAN KEYES

'A perfect work of fiction' MEG MASON

'French Braid is Anne Tyler at her surgical, spare best' NIGELLA LAWSON

'Exquisitely crafted, tender, hilarious, devastatingly precise, I loved this powerful meditation on the small and often unvoiced moments that can make up a life' RACHEL JOYCE

'Such joyous immersion, I lost myself, and loved this superbly imperfect family' TESSA HADLEY

'A faultless novel, effortlessly profound. I read it in two sittings, totally immersed' VICTORIA HISLOP

'If Anne Tyler isn't the best writer in the world, who is?' BBC RADIO 4 WOMAN'S HOUR

** A 2022 Book to Look Forward To in The Times, Daily Mail, Financial Times, i, Irish Times, Scotsman, Good Housekeeping **

  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781784744625
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $48.00

About the author

Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her bestselling novels include Breathing Lessons,The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Ladder of Years, Back When We Were Grownups, A Patchwork Planet, The Amateur Marriage, Digging to America, A Spool of Blue Thread, Vinegar Girl and Clock Dance.

In 1989 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons; in 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'; in 2012 she received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence; and in 2015 A Spool of Blue Thread was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize.

Also by Anne Tyler

See all

Praise for French Braid

She is and always will be my favourite author


Anne Tyler really is the best . . . her sheer brilliance makes it all seem so effortless


One of my favourite writers


A queen of American literature

i newspaper

Fans of Anne Tyler will be delighted by French Braid, a family saga that takes us from the 1950s to the present

Must-Read Books 2022, Daily Mail

The ever reliable and delightful Anne Tyler

The Year Ahead in Books, Scotsman

A new Anne Tyler novel is an island of certainty in a tumultuous world

Reasons To Be Cheerful in 2022, Daily Telegraph

Tyler's sentences are wholly hers, instantly recognisable and impossible to duplicate


Such a perfect work of fiction, you want to turn it over like a tapestry to see how it is done; how Tyler can sew gentle humour into a truly heart-wrenching story, and twist all of life's hurts into a family saga that is ultimately life-affirming, and a brisk and thrilling read. We readers are so lucky a writer like Tyler exists


Lushly imagined, psychologically intricate, virtually inhalable...Tyler balances gracefully between tenderness and piquant humor, her insights into human nature luminous


[A] stunning novel

Sainsbury's Magazine

A funny, joyful, brilliantly perceptive journey deep into one Baltimore family's foibles... An uncannily insightful novel that illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives

Eastern Daily Press

An absorbing and perceptive family saga

Liz Earle Wellbeing Magazine

Any Tyler book is a gift. Funny, poignant, generous, not shying away from death and disappointment but never doomy or overwrought, it suggests there's always new light to be shed, whatever the situation, with just another turn of the prism

Anthony Cummins, Observer

This is Tyler at her most Tyler-ish . . . Critics who write her off as folksy might remember that folk tales, with their dark hearts, endure longer and cut deeper than more sophisticated forms. So will the work of this beloved teller of secret, ordinary truths

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

Clever and wise... French Braid is a family epic in miniature

Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph

Another masterclass by our greatest chronicler of family life . . . There are many authors today who try to emulate Anne Tyler's technique, but none of them comes close to the lightness of touch, the accuracy of her ear, or the profundity of her vision

Craig Brown, Mail

Entrancing... nobody writes better about families than Anne Tyler... [she] has that rare ability to do much with what seems little, to bring the ordinary and usually unregarded lives of ordinary people to life and make them matter

Allan Massie, Scotsman

Anne Tyler's books don't feel like novels. Reading them you feel more like you are in the middle of someone's life. The people she chronicles are so real you can almost touch them... a new Anne Tyler is always an event

Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times

French Braid is a novel full of compassion for the human condition by a writer confident enough not to pin everything down and to trust her story to work its quiet magic

Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times

French Braid is a family saga of uncommon subtlety and grace, a novel which shows that, at 80, Anne Tyler is still amongst the very best writers around

Alex Preston, Spectator

Subtle and powerful . . . a multi-layered and masterly exercise in sympathy and understanding

Lucy Dallas, Times Literary Supplement

A novel about what is remembered, what we're left with when all the choices have been made, the children raised, the dreams realized or abandoned. It is a moving meditation on the passage of time . . . For all its charm, "French Braid" is a quietly subversive novel, tackling fundamental assumptions about womanhood, motherhood and female aging

Jennifer Haigh, New York Times Book Review

Nobody does it better


I'd put her in the same bracket as Ann Patchett or Elizabeth Strout. If you haven't discovered her work and love those two writers, you absolutely must get stuck in

Viv Groskop, BBC Radio 4 Front Row

A tender, humorous dissection of life


Tyler's prose is incisive and sharply observed without feeling effortful or overwrought, giving the impression that these are not characters of her making, but autonomous people whose lives she unobtrusively documents.

Pippa Bailey, New Statesman

Deftly done: witty, poignant, wry - and sort of radical . . . Tyler's genius lies in the subtlety with which she portrays her characters' internal worlds . . . another Tyler forte is the focus on things unsaid and the tensions that spread out from these, across generations and even into communities

Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

A typically perceptive portrait of a family from the 50s to the modern day - the ties that bind and pull apart. A tender, humorous dissection of life

i news

An author beloved by the most highbrow of critics, but who also produces stories that millions want to read

Waitrose magazine

I've been Anne Tyler-ed. After finishing French Braid, the 24th novel from the formidable American novelist, I was going about my life thinking nothing particularly radical had happened to me. And then I thought about it, and I thought about it some more, and I realised - boom - she really is a master

Jessie Thompson, Evening Standard

Anne Tyler's genius lies in her ability to make the lives of this unremarkable family as enthralling as those of the most heroic soldiers or diabolical serial killers... This is a novel to add to the list of her greatest triumphs

Jake Kerridge, Daily Express

Anne Tyler is the world's best living novelist... in French Braid Tyler demonstrates once again why she is so beloved... What she offers is...a glimpse into the very workings of the human heart

Cressida Connolly, Catholic Herald

[A] wonderful novel

Sarah Hayes, Tablet

Tyler's books are full of subtleties, tender compassion and humanity, and French Braid is no exception

UK Press Syndication

[Tyler's] style is striking... few are better at covering the passage of time, and hinting at the shifting cultural climate in a single sentence

Rosemary Goring, Herald

Deft and graceful, French Braid is utterly convincing. Fifty-eight years since she published her first novel, Tyler continues to capture life's joys, contradictions and ordinary heartbreaks with humour and precision

Sarah Collins, Prospect

Tyler pulls off the rare feat of presenting her characters both as they see themselves and as others see them

Scotsman, *Summer Reads of 2022*

A warm-hearted exploration of the foibles and dynamics of family life

The Times, *Summer Reads of 2022*

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