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Anne Tyler

If You Like Anne Tyler…
Try These Authors

Author Anne Tyler has had 20 novels published since her first, in 1964. Perhaps among her best known are Searching for Caleb, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, The Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons (for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature), Saint Maybe and A Spool of Blue Thread. Hallmarks of an Anne Tyler novel are “quirky” characters, in fairly normal domestic settings. Those quirky characters tend to be perfect stand-ins for the reader — you feel like you might be watching the people in your own life deal with whatever storylines Tyler has set in motion. The domestic setting is frequently (but certainly not always) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tyler novels tend to have strong elements of humor, usually built around the quirks of the characters. Family relationships are significant. The plots, while important, are not the centerpiece of an Anne Tyler story — it’s more an exploration of the characters, and their reactions to what’s happening around them.

The authors listed below write works in a similar style to Tyler. In interviews, Tyler has admitted that her mentor, Eudora Welty, had a strong influence on her. If you want to start anywhere in a list of Tyler read-alikes, start with Welty. However, there are a lot of authors who are comparable to Anne Tyler in the category of “literary fiction”. In the list below, authors with an * next to their names are probably the closest to Tyler in style and tone. The author names are hotlinked to their holdings in our catalog, so that you may check on the availability of their titles in print, electronic or audio formats. Be aware — many of the authors in this list are prolific, and several write in a variety of different styles. While each of these authors has some titles which are similar in style and tone to the majority of Anne Tyler’s works, not everything written by each of these writers will be similar to Tyler — be prepared to read the jacket blurbs and maybe sample a page or two before committing yourself to a full novel!

Kate Atkinson
* Elizabeth Berg
Diane Chamberlain
* Laurie Colwin
Pat Conroy
Joe Coomer
Anita Diamant
Louise Erdrich
Angela Flournoy
Karen Joy Fowler
Lisa Genova
Kaye Gibbons
Ellen Gilchrist
Gail Godwin
Judith Guest
Jane Hamilton
Kent Haruf
* Alice Hoffman
John Irving
Barbara Kingsolver
Anne Lamott
Margaret Laurence
Caroline Leavitt
Billie Letts
Alice McDermott
* Sue Miller
Lorrie Moore
Alice Munro
* Ann Patchett
Cathie Pelletier
Jodi Picoult
* Anna Quindlen
Richard Russo
* Carol Shields
Mona Simpson
Jane Smiley
Elizabeth Strout
J. Courtney Sullivan
Lisa Tucker
Robert James Waller
Jennifer Weiner
* Eudora Welty
Nancy Willard

last updated July 2018 sdc