Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ Kiki misses me


I'm house-sitting again, which also means cat-sitting with Babe, who likes to come inside through one door and rush to another door meowing to be let out.  The first day here (this time), she meowed to go outside and I went to the kitchen to let her out through the garage, where she has a cat door to the outside.  No, she sat at the other end of the kitchen, refusing to go that way.  When I closed that door, she marched through the den to go out by way of the deck.  That takes her right back past her cat door to the garage, but it's what she preferred, thank you very much.  It's her favorite game, in one door, out another, refuse to do what's expected.  Kiki has spoiled me, good cat that she is.

Speaking of Kiki, the first night I was here at Jane's, my roommate Donna got up in the middle of the night and found Kiki waiting for me by the door, in the dark.  Since Kiki usually sleeps curled up next to me, for at least part of the night, she misses me.  I'm only a couple of miles away, but she doesn't know that.


I should call this "the Luke Tull" edition.  Do you know Luke?  I've been reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler's 1982 novel about the Tull family.  Each chapter is narrated by a different family member:
1.  Pearl Tull, the mother
2.  Cody Tull, her oldest son
3.  Jenny Tull, her daughter
4.  Ezra Tull, her youngest son, who is Pearl's favorite
5.  Cody Tull, again
6.  Pearl Tull, again
7.  Jenny Tull, again, now Dr. Tull, a pediatrician
8.  Luke Tull, son of Cody
There are two more chapters, but I don't know who narrates them.  Not yet, anyway.  Ezra has a restaurant he named the Homesick Restaurant.  Cody moved as far from family as possible, taking along his wife Ruth and son Luke.  That's how far I got before the library informed me they had my book on hold for me:  The Beginner's Goodbye, Anne Tyler's 2012 novel.  It's a new book, so I'm limited to seven days.  I put aside one book and started the other.  I was reading along and got to page 57, where I read this:
Not half an hour later, the phone rang again.  This time it was TULL L.  I answered, but I was warier now.  All I said was, "Hello?"

"Hi, Aaron, it's Luke."
Wait!  "Tull L." on the caller ID is Luke.  That would be Luke Tull.  That's when I made the connection that these two novels are by the same author.  That's when I realized both novels are set in Baltimore, Maryland.  That's when I remembered I don't usually read two novels at the same time.  But I did, and now the same character is in both books.  But there's a 30-year gap between books, and I haven't finished the first one.  I haven't even finished Luke's chapter!  In Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, chapter 8 starts with Luke in his early teens:
The summer before Luke Tull turned fourteen, his father had a serious accident at the factory he was inspecting.
In The Beginner's Goodbye, Luke owns a restaurant.  Wait!  How'd that happen?  Luke's uncle Ezra owned a restaurant in the earlier book.  Is this the same one?  A different restaurant?  Now I wonder if I should finish the earlier novel before continuing this new one.

And then I made another connection.  The wife of Aaron, the main character in The Beginner's Goodbye, is/was a pediatrician.  (The book starts with her death, so "was" a pediatrician is correct.)  Jenny Tull, in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, is a pediatrician.  Is that how they know each other?  Is that how they became friends, through Luke's aunt Jenny and Aaron's wife?

I don't know if Luke Tull is merely a minor "friend" of this protagonist (Aaron) or if he's important to the story.  Does it matter?  Maybe not, but it's a curious problem to encounter.

Here's my solution.  With about 80 pages to go, I think I'll finish the earlier novel.  Then I'll finish the 2012 novel.  What do you think?

[CORRECTION, afternoon:  I stand corrected by today's New York Times review of the new book.  Aaron's wife Dorothy was an oncologist, a cancer doctor, not a pediatrician.  The two novels have already blurred in my mind.  I've been reading the earlier one today and will finish it soon.]

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Helen's Book Blog said...

Ah, animals are so sweet, but it's a shame we can't explain things to them so that they understand we'll be right back.

This morning our dog has woken up with a sore back/neck (a semi-regular occurrence unfortunately). Pain pills and anti-inflammatories to the rescue (we hope)

Stephanie said...

How funny about the Luke Tull thing. I'd finish the earlier novel before diving back into the newer one, but that's just me!

Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I did, Stephanie. Luke Tull was still thirteen years old when I finished the book this afternoon. Maybe I'll learn more about him in the new book, though so far there's just that one mention of his phone call.

Helen, I hope your dog feels better.