Read Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler Online


Ranging from the ragtime era to small-town America in the seventies, Searching for Caleb is a moving quest for a family's deepest roots - and a haunting story of growing up and breaking away, acceptance and rebellion.OVER A MILLION ANNE TYLER BOOKS SOLD‘She’s changed my perception on life’ Anna Chancellor ‘One of my favourite authors ’ Liane Moriarty‘She spins gold' ElizabRanging from the ragtime era to small-town America in the seventies, Searching for Caleb is a moving quest for a family's deepest roots - and a haunting story of growing up and breaking away, acceptance and rebellion.OVER A MILLION ANNE TYLER BOOKS SOLD‘She’s changed my perception on life’ Anna Chancellor ‘One of my favourite authors ’ Liane Moriarty‘She spins gold' Elizabeth Buchan‘Anne Tyler has no peer’ Anita Shreve‘My favourite writer, and the best line-and-length novelist in the world’ Nick Hornby‘A masterly author’ Sebastian Faulks‘Tyler is not merely good, she is wickedly good’ John Updike‘I love Anne Tyler’ Anita Brookner‘Her fiction has strength of vision, originality, freshness, unconquerable humour’ Eudora Welty...

Title : Searching for Caleb
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099591917
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 309 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Searching for Caleb Reviews

  • Helene Jeppesen
    2019-04-05 11:40

    This book was good, but not one of Tyler's strongest works. It deals with Justine who is a fortune teller. But it also deals with all of her family who are somewhat puzzling, but overall endearing. It's funny how this novel comes with a mixture of strong and amusing parts as well as long, dull parts. I especially loved reading about Justine's childhood and her finding a husband, but I didn't particularly care about her fortune telling present which I couldn't really relate to. Justine is a somewhat quirky woman and she seemed way too dependant and unsettled in her life. At the same time, I loved reading about some of the other characters in her family, and all in all that led to a bewildering, however alluring story. This book was published in the 1980s, and while I don't see it as one of Tyler's strongest books, it was still worth a read and I definitely do recommend it.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-04-11 10:33

    In 1912, Caleb Peck walked away from his family and from Baltimore and was never heard of again. Some 50+ years later, his brother Daniel and great niece start tracking down leads to try to find him. "If I could just walk to church with him once more," he told her, "only this time, paying closer attention, don't you see. If I could pass by the Salter Academy and look in the window and see him wave, or hear him play that foolish messy music of his on the piano in the parlor—if they could just give me back one little scrap of time, that's all I ask!"Any of us who has ever lost a loved one can relate to this quote—but how much more deeply would you feel if you believe that person is likely still alive?We know Anne Tyler for her mastery of showing us dysfunctional families. The Peck family appears to be the epitome of conventionalism. How can it deal with those very few individuals who are unconventional? How do those individuals function in a conventional atmosphere? While not her earliest work, Searching for Caleb was penned relatively early in her career. Still, I think I can say that I liked this as much as (and in some cases more than) her later work. With the exception of the 90-year old Grandfather, this is a book filled with young people not yet old enough to be experiencing any mid-life crisis. I have not yet read any of her other early ones, but I'll make an effort to seek them out because I suspect that earlier viewpoint will appeal to me. I might be feeling a tad stingy today, but this is just a solid 4 stars.

  • Dan
    2019-04-15 11:36

    I think this is the most beautifully written book I have ever read. I can open to any page and get drawn in. Bittersweet and inspiring.

  • Ayelet Waldman
    2019-04-08 10:28

    I read this as I finished the final rewrites for my book that is now called Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. Anne Tyler is a perfect role model for me as a writer. High aspirations are good for a person. I liked this book very much, despite the fact that the main character is a fortune-teller. I usually hate free spirits, and I was afraid she'd be one. But she was significantly less of a twit than I had feared.

  • Robert
    2019-04-05 08:35

    Fortune tellers and writers will like this book. These two careers are not as wacky to put together as one might think. Elizabeth Sims conflates them, writing in YOU'VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU that writers are mystics, and SEARCHING FOR CALEB serves insights into both jobs. For instance, Anne Tyler writes how to tell fortunes for women wearing pantsuits, "Justine hated pantsuits. Whenever she saw one, she had an urge to tell the owner some scandalous fortune, loudly enough to be heard everywhere: 'The father of your next-to-last baby has run off with a cigar-smoking redhead.'" (Wonder what she'd tell the pantsuit nation!) While Tyler delves into expository writing and backstory in large portions of the novel, she employs a simple, yet dynamic technique to create drama--she has someone move. What writers can take away from this technique is to simply let your characters live. Let characters play solitary, let them go to the diner, let them write letters, and when it's time for drama, let one of them move away or take off. The gap the absent person leaves behind creates drama that everyone else has to cope with.

  • Michael
    2019-04-03 11:49

    This is the first book I've read by Anne Tyler. I tried reading Saint Maybe a couple months back and really couldn't get into it. That's not the case at all with Searching for Caleb, which was a fantastic book. I knew about halfway through that it was going to be a 5-star book for me. The only way I would have knocked any stars off is if Tyler had pulled a Stephen King on me and vomited up an ending that made absolutely no sense. I'm happy to say that did not happen.This is a story about the Peck family and all the incidental people who are lucky or unlucky enough to get caught up in their family unit. And what a unit it is. The story centers on Daniel, the hard-of-hearing grandfather, Justine, his grand daughter, and Duncan, his grand son. They are all involved in the search for Daniel's long lost brother, Caleb. Daniel is in his nineties when this story begins, so his brother would be in his late eighties, if he's even still alive. But the funny thing is, whether or not they find him really didn't matter to me. (Don't worry, Tyler gives you an answer.) What mattered to me were the characters. They're all amazing, even mean ol' Sulie.I'm not sure what the deeper meaning of this story might be, but it was enough for me to get lost in someone else's life for a few days. (I'd also like to note that I finished this book in 5 days, which might be a new record for me considering how slowly I read.) And this reinforced my belief that my favorite books are not those that concentrate solely on action and plot, but rather on those that are heavy with character and 'moments'. Allow me to explain: I'm also currently halfway through David Eddings's Belgariad series. There is a lot of action, and there is a definable plot in the form of a high-fantasy adventure quest, but what Eddings does that I love so much is that he populates the story with funny, lively characters and then throws them into 'moments' that really have nothing whatsoever to do with the bigger quest but which have everything to do with who those people are. It is very character-driven. And Tyler, like Eddings, gives us amazingly rich characters full of humor and sadness and shows us how those people cope with those random moments.In some ways, Searching for Caleb is reminiscent of a John Irving story. John Irving, it could be argued, is all character and no plot, and in some ways Tyler follows his quirky character model. But unlike Irving, she favors us readers with a hint of a plot, and one that she fully resolves in the end. One Ivring-ism that Tyler omits, fortunately, is Irving's obsessively overused character quirks and ticks. Irving will find some mannerism or phrase to attribute to a character and he'll use it ad nauseum. For example, in Until I Find You, there is Alice's constant mantra of "Not around Jack" every time someone says something vaguely more than PG-13 in front of her son. Tiresome. This never happens in Caleb. I never got tired of these characters. I wanted them all to be happy in the end.I'd like to think they were, but either way I will say that *I* was happy in the end.

  • Ann
    2019-03-28 10:33

    I always enjoy Anne Tyler's writing. This is one of her earlier books (1976) and you can tell. Her characters are more stereotypical and the plot less complex and more predictable than her later books.However, i did enjoy her portrayal of the repressed Brahmin WASP Baltimore family who allowed no one out of the family and rarely allowed anyone in -- an occasional similar wife might be an exception. Her story focuses on the 3 rebels who do manage to leave the family because they cannot live with the constraints put upon them if they are to remain living/working within the family. Caleb is the brother of the current pater familias, Daniel, and Caleb left the family to pursue music (JAZZ!!) in 1912. Unknown to him, for many years Daniel and his grandaughter, Justine, have been following many leads to find him. Justine is another family rebel, although she was lured away by her first cousin, Duncan, a real rebel.Despite this being not quite as developed as her later novels, the story and characers carried me along and i enjoyed it.

  • Jason
    2019-04-16 11:38

    I decided to give Anne Tyler another try. I wasn't too thrilled with the book I read by her previously and thought now was a good time to try again. Nope. Same issue with this one that I had with the last one...somewhat interesting characters but not one I could really identify with or like, and a story with no real forward movement.

  • Don
    2019-04-08 07:42

    I've read several books by Anne Tyler and I've enjoyed each and every one of them. Her work stands out because of well-developed characters, her exceptional ability with the English language, and the fact that each of her books has a personality all its own. This early work is probably the best Tyler I've read so far. As with much of her writing, this novel charts the course of a family, in this instance the Pecks. In a review for the NEW YORK TIMES published in January of 1975, Katha Pollitt says that Tyler "has invented a family whose very conventionality borders on the eccentric." I love that description because it captures the flavor of this family in a few words. The Pecks have essentially shut themselves off from the world. To be a Peck is to follow well defined rules and to live up to clear and unbending expectations. Daniel Peck, the patriarch of the family, is 91 years old. For many years, he has been searching for his brother, Caleb, who disappeared in 1912; this search seems to consume Daniel's every waking moment. His rather unconventional granddaughter, Justine, has been helping him with this project. In many ways, this book is about the juxtaposition of conventionality and nonconformity. Daniel lived his life in keeping with the expectations of the Pecks; Caleb, on the other hand, walked away from all that. Justine shocks her family by making a very unconventional choice for a husband. Not only that, but the man she marries leads a life very different from Peck family norms. What Tyler manages to do with this theme is nothing short of amazing. And she stays true to her characters throughout. I don't want to give too much away; so I'll just say that I was deeply touched and profoundly moved by this literary masterpiece.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-10 09:43

    Una famiglia americana, i Peck di Baltimora, un clan alla Kennedy, legati dalle tradizioni che si trasmettono di generazione in generazione e soggetti alle convenzioni borghesi americane, una famiglia che sforna esemplari sempre uguali a sé stessi, che si ripetono di padre in figlio, sia nell’aspetto fisico che nelle abitudini di vita e nelle attività lavorative: i Peck sono avvocati da generazioni.All’interno di questa famiglia vi è uno strappo, uno dei suoi membri, Caleb, improvvisamente scompare: le vicende narrate nel libro si dipanano nell’affannata ricerca di Caleb Peck da parte di suo fratello Daniel, che per anni girerà l’America cercando le tracce labili che egli ha lasciato, al fine di ricondurlo nell’alveo familiare. Caleb è l’esempio, il prototipo del ribelle alle convenzioni sociali, fuggiasco; simile a lui è il nipote Duncan Peck, un uomo perennemente insoddisfatto che decide da quando compie i diciotto anni di abbandonare la famiglia, ma sposa sua cugina Justine Peck, fedele alla famiglia e alle sue tradizioni, trascinandola in una vita vagabonda. E’ Justine il membro della famiglia più dilaniato tra i due modi di vivere, tra un marito inquieto e anticonvenzionale e una famiglia che la attira nel suo alveo con la forza delle abitudini; al termine del libro Justine farà finalmente la sua scelta.Il limite del romanzo è costituto, a mio parere, dallo stile eccessivamente placido, a volte soporifero, con cui è scritto, che appiattisce la storia e i personaggi: si tratta di una caratteristica della scrittura di Anne Tyler, semplice e scorrevole, in questo caso portata all’eccesso.

  • Heidi
    2019-04-17 11:52

    This is the first Anne Tyler book I've read, though she has been recommended to me more than once. I didn't really connect with this book, and am still contemplating what the deeper meaning behind the story could be...On the surface, the story of a wacky, and in my mind, pitiful woman from a large, closed Baltimore family who marries her cousin and then spends her life being dragged (and dragging her poor grandfather) from one ramshackle, cheap rental to another is not at all relatable and entirely depressing. Hence the search for deeper meaning.According to the Philadephia Inquirer "It is about growing up, mating and breaking away. It is about living by prescription and living by instinct. It is about loving the past and yet defying it, and taking responsibility for terrible things while holding onto joyfulness. It is about rebellion and adjustment, the simultaneous lust to wander and to take root, to move and to stay. It's about trying, up till the moment of death, to discover what it was we rebelled against, what it was we adjusted to, what we loved and what we lost." I'm interested to know what prescription that reviewer was on. I saw not a hint of joyfulness in this book. To me it was the story of a mousy woman, who merely subsisted while letting others determine the course and content of her life. But then, I'm a glass half empty kind of girl...

  • Shana Kennedy
    2019-03-23 10:47

    Anne Tyler is an unfailingly good storyteller. How does she create such absorbing characters, who are so odd and unique, yet completely understandable to the reader? Duncan and Justine Peck are exactly these types of characters, complete eccentrics who win our hearts. Their story has levels of the day-to-day mundane - peanut-butter sandwiches, ill-fitting clothes, U-Hauls; but it is colored by the extremes of their lifestyles, a prim-and-proper dysfunctional extended family, gypsy-type traveling from job-to-job, and Justine's career as a fortune-teller. There are moments of predictability - like their serious-minded daughter running away to marry a minister for a settled-down life. But the ending is particularly surprising and nuanced, with explorations of Justine's deep ties to her family, and her search for her own identity.

  • Liz
    2019-03-26 03:48

    I really like reading books by Anne Tyler. She is a very good story teller, and very observant about the way people talk to and react to each other. This particular book has some connections with the other books about Boston and New England that I have been reading lately. The concept of "family", and keeping things in the "family", and never changing anything that the "family" has passed down across the generations is evident in this book, as well as in The Late George Apley. This story, however, is about two family members who break the mold, and their struggles to find their own way. I enjoyed this book a lot.

  • Geo Forman
    2019-04-13 07:33

    How often do you finish a book smiling with a warm feeling? Have you ever heard of a "bread and butter note"? A close-knit family with its own set of black sheep and eccentrics growing up in Baltimore in the early and mid 1950's. Although my rating says "amazing" that is a bit extreme but it deserves better than the next rating of "I really liked it". I loved the book. The people were real and fun with their own share of misery who managed to always overcome. My second Anne Tyler book but not my last

  • Karen S
    2019-04-03 10:51

    I remember really liking this book, the first by Anne Tyler that I ever read. She catches you by surprise: you're reading along, following where the story leads, and then suddenly you're laughing out loud on the crowded subway during rush hour at the twist of humor in the simple telling of the tale; and then a few minutes later, starting to tear up. I've read a few of her others, but I have especially warm memories of this one. Read it mid- to late-70s, not sure exactly when.

  • Bonnie Walker
    2019-04-19 11:37

    This is one of my favorite books of Anne Tyler and one of my all time favorites. I have read it numerous times. Justine is a fortune teller, but no body takes her advice even though they return again and again. She has an interesting marriage also. The book plot is actually about her travels with her grandfather searching for a brother who left home and disappeared without a trace decades ago. This is a many layered book.

  • Camille
    2019-03-24 04:55

    Anne Tyler captures such interesting personalities, feelings and places. Even though I have a hard time with some of her characters, the writing pulls you in to get to know and love them. You want them to be different than they are, yet you love them--such intricate family relationships!

  • Frances
    2019-03-25 05:52

    I found this story to be too long and repetitive. By the end I had forgotten how it had started and why I had chosen it.

  • Gail
    2019-03-24 03:40

    Yet another great book by Tyler. I'll say again that her knack for characters is just spot on in everything of hers that I've read so far, Searching for Caleb included.

  • P. Lundburg
    2019-04-05 11:48

    Searching for Caleb is one of the truly memorable Anne Tyler books. I have read everything she's written (and just finished reading this one again after two decades), and I wrote my master's thesis on her work. While I won't say this is my favorite of her books, it is wonderfully dense compared to others of her works and in keeping with all of Tyler's novels, is extremely well written. Tyler has a commitment to plot and character (which I share, and is part of why she's one of my greatest influences as a writer), and that certainly shows in this fantastic novel. This one, by the way, has a fun eccentric character in an unlikely private detective that appears in one or two other Tyler novels--a nice little tidbit for her loyal fans to discover.If you're an Anne Tyler fan, you simply must read this one. And if you're not a Tyler fan, you should be.

  • Felicity
    2019-04-11 10:30

    The Pecks are on the move again as Duncan can't bear to stay in one place or one job for too long. His wife Justine is a fortune teller and her big mission is to help her Grandfather find his brother Caleb who no one has seen in 50 years.I found this book dragged in the middle as it went in to the background of the family in great detail. I loved the beginning and the end but felt it got stuck. The characters were well drawn and the family dynamic was fascinating. Anne Tyler always makes me reflect on human nature once I have finished reading one of her novels and how we could treat each other better.A decent novel with sad moments, humour and an interesting portrayal of family life.

  • Nancy
    2019-04-10 09:45

    I'm on an Anne Tyler bender, re-reading several old favorites over the last few months. I want to be able to write like AT - so beautiful, so fine a portrait artist of the passive underachiever that turns up in all her stories. I don't think I've read Searching for Caleb before, but I think it may be my favorite AT yet. She obviously loves all her characters - they all do the most amusing things, even as they frustrate and annoy. It's all so perfectly human. I feel a little more forgiving of myself when I read one of her books, and more anxious about using my limited time on earth in the ways that I want to.

  • Ann Weisz
    2019-04-05 04:55

    This book had a lot of promise in developing its characters but somehow I felt it lost its way - almost as if one questioned what was the point of it all. The title is deceptive in that a very small part of the book was actually searching for Caleb. The ending just didn’t gel for me.

  • Ian Kupfer
    2019-03-21 03:33

    This one is up to Tyler's usual high standard.

  • Madelaine
    2019-04-19 05:35

    I found a dirty, torn copy of this Anne Tyler I didn’t know about at the preschool book stand. A gift from the universe! She is always brilliant & the miserable Peck family don’t disappoint.

  • Sara
    2019-04-15 05:49

    3.5 Stars

  • Wendy
    2019-04-11 06:28

    So many unlike able characters that this was a bit of a slog to read.

  • Dorina
    2019-04-01 11:41

    This is one of the author's earlier works from 1975. When I sat to read this, I realized I had read it many years ago. While I enjoyed it, I enjoy her later works much better. It is well written. Apparently, a movie was made from this book. I found this a touch dated but still enjoyable. It was nice to see how she has grown as an author. I love her later works and highly recommend them. So if this is your first book by the author, please keep that in mind.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-31 05:27

    Family, you can never leave nor forsake them. Anne Tyler's "Searching for Caleb" examines family ties and the impact they so blatantly have on you. Tyler's use of wavering characters, Justine and her husband Duncan, explain how their misplacement did not necessarily exclude them from their " perfect family". Throughout the story Tyler describes how indecisive Justine and Duncan were, and how they both desperately longed for for what seemed to be an epiphany. After moving away from their family because of their shameful marriage, constantly moving, and changing jobs, Justine and Duncan both weren't sure where their place was in life anymore. Justine makes the comment, "It's time we learned to stay in one place".(399) Their need for new experiences left them restless, and desire for the sense of belonging.Tyler brings in the character, Caleb, Justine's grandfathers brother, to show that he too seemed to be the " black sheep" of the family. Even though Caleb left the family when he was young, Justine and Duncan realize that he carried many of the same characteristics of the Pecks. Duncan mentions, "Consider that he has remained a lone his whole lifelong, never let in anybody who wasn't a blood relative." (405) Stressing that even though Caleb may have been so to speak lost all these years, he still carries the Peck family roots, leading Justine and Duncan to think that they too may have a place in what was left of their family.The Pecks, "perfect" family, although seemed to not have an impact on the few disconnected family members, actually proves to have a substantial effect. Justine and Duncan's unsettling lifestyle left them with the hopes of one day finding peace. Their similarities to Caleb gave them this hope they needed, but actually brought them back to the family they thought they didn't want relations with. The things that you may be running away from are sometimes the things that you so dearly need to hold to in hopes of finding yourself.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-26 10:44

    More quirky characters and events to ponder!