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Publisher's Summary

Meet Macon Leary - a travel writer who hates both travel and strangeness. Grounded by loneliness, comfort, and a somewhat odd domestic life, Macon is about to embark on a surprising new adventure, arriving in the form of a fuzzy-haired dog obedience trainer who promises to turn his life around.

©1986 Anne Tyler (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Not a character, including Macon's dog Edward, is untouched by delightful eccentricity in this charming story, full of surprises and wisdom. All of Tyler's novels are wonderful; this is her best yet." (Libarary Journal)
"Comic.... Sweetly perverse.... A novel animated by witty invention and lively personalities." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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    23

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • 4 Stars
    161
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    23
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    17

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • 4 Stars
    177
  • 3 Stars
    95
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    29
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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-13-15

Extraordinary How Underwhelmed I Am

I'm trying to figure out what it is. I mean, I loved the book, liked the movie. The audiobook? Where the hell did the charm go? I'm thinking the narration is at fault. Don't get me wrong. Being an Audible Addict, I have plenty of Joe Barrett, and he's brilliant in "Defiant" and "Roberts Ridge." He has the right stuff. But here, he turns a backwards, inside-out, unhappy man into a snappish man with a stick up his wazoo who has to have everything his way (rather than feeling that it would just be safer if things were done such and such way). And he makes people feel stupid. I just couldn't feel for him. Listening to the book, even when Macon's grandfather is discussed in explanation, isn't enough to up the care factor. His presentation throughout the book is exasperating, the love story isn't credible as delivered, and I'm feeling really, really disheartened right about now. Truly, I loved the book, like I said, was even fond of the movie. But I just can't give a rat's patoot about Macon here, and he's what the whole thing hinges on.
If you loved the book/movie, listen carefully to the sample. There's a bit of his coldness in there. I mean, can't he show Sarah some warmth, consideration? I don't hear any sort of this-is-just-the-way-I-think; I just hear hear a cold, self-absorbed man.

49 of 54 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Waltham, MA, United States
  • 10-07-13

Slow to start but great second half

I had read this novel many years ago and loved it. It had been my first Anne Tyler novel. Listening to this now, I was disappointed throughout the first half. The characters were quirky, almost typical Anne Tyler characters, but the freshness of the experience was gone for me. This is the story of Macon, an odd, finicky man dealing with the demise of his marriage after the tragic death of his son. When Macon meets Muriel, an unlikely mate, his life begins to change in big ways. Halfway through the novel, the characters became alive to me, and I loved the second half of the book. It was hard to rate this, as the first half is a basic 3 star novel, but the second half was a 5 star story which kept me glued to my iPod. This does not feel dated, and I recommend it to anyone who likes Anne Tyler or quirky middle-aged romances.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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great story, frustrating reader

Where does The Accidental Tourist rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

in the middle

What did you like best about this story?

the characters and how they change

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The main character is named Macon. The reader constantly pronounces it Mee con or meegun. it sounds as if he is saying megan. I find it really annoying.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is a great book. I read it years ago and later saw the movie version. it is funny and charming and the characters are rounded out and believable. I am not enjoying the audible version as much as I had hoped.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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My first audiobook from a movie I love

Would you try another book from Anne Tyler and/or Joe Barrett?

Maybe Ann Tyler, but I will try and avoid Joe Barrett. I am sure he is a decent narrator but not for this material especially the Muriel character. Kinda annoying.

What did you like best about this story?

The complex characters.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Barrett?

Not sure as this is my first audiobook

Do you think The Accidental Tourist needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Sure! How about a follow up movie also.

Any additional comments?

While the book certainly expands on what was possible in a two hour movie, some of it seemed excessive and unnecessary. I especially disliked all the dream sequences. I know they were they to help explain some of the inner working of Macon's mind however, I found them distracting and not needed. Sometimes while listening to this in my car on the way home, I found my mind wandering and having to rewind the book several cycles. Was it because the book/story was uninteresting or was it because this is my first audiobook and I needed to train my mind to listen? I really think I enjoyed the movie better. Here's hoping that my next audiobook is better.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Marianne
  • LONG BEACH, CA, United States
  • 06-21-14

Unfortunate narrator

Would you be willing to try another one of Joe Barrett’s performances?

No! He made the main female character, Muriel, sound like Jerry Lewis in one of his comedies. I can't imagine any man finding this woman alluring with the interpretation he gives her. Geena Davis did a far better performance in the film.

Any additional comments?

It's interesting that Muriel was portrayed much more sympathetically in the film and Kathleen Turner came off badly. In the book she's a bit more likable, and the book also fleshes out a lot of Macon's feelings (such as they are.) I would recommend the film over a reading of the novel, however. It's still a fine story with amusing characters.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • Asheboro, NC, USA
  • 04-09-14

Just not my type of book

I listened to all of the book, but was glad when it was over. This book just bounced around too often without keeping my interest.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 02-25-16

Damaged Goods

Anne Tyler's protagonist, Macon Leary, is damaged goods. Anne Tyler's best known novel is, in this audio edition, damaged goods -- narrator Joe Barrett does major damage to Tyler's classic, but it's still good.

The best literary novels are character-driven rather than plot-driven, and that is certainly the case with Macon Leary, who writes guidebooks for people who don't like to travel under the pseudonym The Accidental Tourist. We enter his life just as his marriage falls apart after the tragic death of his son. But the more we learn about Macon, the more we learn that he was damaged from the start, as is his whole phobic family.

The best novels utilize literary devices to develop character. Tyler employs two symbolic parallels to describe the arc of Macon's character development as he begins to recognize and deal with his flaws. One is his job as travel writer, a potent and humorous symbol of a person who cannot deal with the unpredictability of life, who foregoes potential pleasures by going to extraordinary lengths to mitigate all risk.

The other symbol is even more pertinent and entertaining -- Macon hires Muriel to train his recalcitrant dog, who we are told more than once is acting out of fear of abandonment, just as Macon feels abandoned. The entertaining part is the dog trainer, Muriel (Geena Davis won an Oscar for this role). She is the polar opposite of Macon, someone who has not had an easy road through life but revels in it unabashedly.

The only problem is that this most entertaining aspect of the book is ruined by the narrator. The rest of his reading is OK, but the voice he uses for Muriel is just horrible, both in tone (whiny and strident) and in characterization (making her seem crass and juvenile). So a five star classic becomes a four star listen -- still worthwhile if you can get past Muriel's voice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed immensely!!!

At first it was kind of hard to continue to listen to this man's OCD ways but they became increasingly funny and familiar little bit of an experience with the person in my own life I really enjoyed this book!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • United States
  • 07-02-12

Better than the movte

What did you love best about The Accidental Tourist?

Anne Tyler creates wonderful off-beat characters who are totally believable and places them in real-life delimmas

Who was your favorite character and why?

Muriel the dog trainer . Though she and Megan are both from Baltimore, she is from a cultural background that contrasts poignantly with his.

Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Joe Barrett renders the character's voices in a way that distinguishes each one.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Thisbook's multi-layered story is a treat to be savored again and again.

Any additional comments?

As with all Anne Tyler's works, this book makees you feel you have shared her charscter's lives. Also, she makes the city of Baltimore an integral part of the story.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Awful

What disappointed you about The Accidental Tourist?

Deadly dull, unrealistic characters & no story

Has The Accidental Tourist turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't think it has a genre, it just rambles on and on and on

Which scene was your favorite?

none

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Glad that it was over & happy that audible allows you to speed up narration to end the misery quicker

Any additional comments?

Narrator should receive special recognition for staying awake through entire reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful