The Accidental Tourist

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The Accidental Tourist
First edition cover
Author Anne Tyler
Cover artist Fred Marcellino[1]
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Knopf
Publication date
August 12, 1985
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 355 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-394-54689-X
OCLC 12432313
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 19
LC Class PS3570.Y45 A64 1985

The Accidental Tourist is a 1985 novel by Anne Tyler that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The novel was adapted into a 1988 award-winning film starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and Geena Davis, for which Davis won an Academy Award.

Plot summary[edit]

Set in Baltimore, Maryland, the plot revolves around Macon Leary, a writer of travel guides whose son has been killed in a shooting at a fast-food restaurant. He and his wife Sarah, separately lost in grief, find their marriage disintegrating until she eventually moves out. When he becomes incapacitated due to a fall, he returns to the family home to stay with his eccentric siblings—sister Rose and brothers Porter and Charles—whose odd habits include alphabetizing the groceries in the kitchen cabinets and ignoring the ringing telephone. When his publisher, Julian, comes to visit, Julian finds himself attracted to Rose. They eventually marry.

Macon hires Muriel Pritchett, a quirky young woman with a sickly son, to train his unruly dog, and soon finds himself drifting into a relationship with the two of them. When his wife Sarah becomes aware of the situation, she decides they should reconcile, forcing him to make a difficult decision about his future.


In The New York Times, Larry McMurtry says, "Tyler shows, with a fine clarity, the mingling of misery and contentment in the daily lives of her families, reminds us how alike--and yet distinct--happy and unhappy families can be. Muriel Pritchett is as appealing a woman as Miss Tyler has created; and upon the quiet Macon she lavishes the kind of intelligent consideration that he only intermittently gets from his own womenfolk".[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Life is a Foreign Country". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 

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