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"Yes, that is my son," the man says, identifying the body in the intensive care unit. Grief threatens to break his face into pieces, and then something closes shut inside of him. He has always had a very controlled nature, fearful of emotion and revelation, but now a true ice age begins, and after a year his wife tells him she wants a divorce. It is because he cannot seem to feel anything.

"The Accidental Tourist" begins on that note of emotional sterility, and the whole movie is a journey toward a smile at the end.

The man's name is Macon Leary ( William Hurt ), and he writes travel books for people who detest traveling. He advises his readers on how to avoid human contact, where to find "American food" abroad and how to convince themselves they haven't left home. His own life is the same sort of journey, and maybe it began in childhood. His sister and two brothers still live together in the house where they were born, and any life outside of their routine would be unthinkable.

Macon's wife ( Kathleen Turner ) moves out, leaving him with the dog, Edward, who does like to travel and is deeply disturbed by the curious life his masters have provided for him. He barks at ghosts and snaps at strangers. It is time for Macon to make another one of his overseas research trips, so he takes the dog to be boarded at a kennel, and that's where he meets Muriel Pritchett ( Geena Davis ). Muriel has Macon's number from the moment he walks through the door. She can see he's a basket case, but she thinks she can help. She also thinks her young son needs a father.

Macon isn't so sure. He doesn't use the number she gives him. But later, when the dog trips him and he breaks his leg, he takes Edward back to the kennel, and this time he submits to a little obedience training of his own. He agrees to acknowledge that Muriel exists, and before long they are sort of living together (lust still exists in his body, but it lurks so far from the center of his feelings that sex hardly seems to cheer him up).

The peculiarity about these central passages in the film is that they are quite cheerful and sometimes even very funny, even though Macon himself is mired in a deep depression. Davis, as Muriel, brings an unforced wackiness to her role in scenes like the one where she belts out a song while she's doing the dishes. But she is not as simple as she sometimes seems, and when Macon gets carried away with a little sentimental generalizing about the future, she warns him, "Don't make promises to my son that you are not prepared to keep." There is also great good humor in the characters in Macon's family: brothers Porter ( David Ogden Stiers ) and Charles ( Ed Begley Jr.) and sister Rose ( Amy Wright ), a matriarch who feeds the family, presides over their incomprehensible card games and supervises such traditional activities as alphabetizing the groceries on the kitchen shelves. One evening Macon takes his publisher, Julien ( Bill Pullman ), home to dinner and Julien is struck with a thunderbolt of love for Rose. He eventually marries her, but a few weeks later Julien tells Macon that Rose has moved back home with the boys; she was concerned that they had abandoned regular meals and were eating only gorp.

This emergency triggers the movie's emotional turning point, which is subtle but unmistakable. Nobody knows Rose as well as Macon does, and so he gives Julien some very particular advice: "Call her up and tell her your business is going to pieces. Ask if she could just come in and get things organized. Get things under control. Put it that way.

Use those words. Get things under control, tell her." In context, this speech is hilarious. It is also the first time in the film that Macon has been able to extend himself to help anybody, and it starts him on the road to emotional growth. Clinging to the sterility and loneliness that has been his protection, he doesn't realize at first that he has turned the corner. He still doubts that he needs Muriel, and when she buys herself a ticket and follows him to Paris, he refuses to have anything to do with her. When his wife also turns up in Paris, there is a moment when he thinks they may be able to patch things together again, and then finally Macon arrives at the sort of moment he has been avoiding all of his life: He has to make a choice. But by then the choice is obvious; he has already made it, by peeking so briefly out of his shell.

The screenplay for "The Accidental Tourist," by Kasdan and Frank Galati , is able to reproduce a lot of the tone and dialogue of the Anne Tyler novel without ever simply being a movie version of a book. The textures are too specific and the humor is too quirky and well-timed to be borrowed. The filmmakers have reinvented the same story in their own terms. The movie is a reunion for Kasdan, Hurt and Turner, who all three launched their careers with " Body Heat " (1981). Kasdan used Hurt again in " The Big Chill " (1983) and understands how to employ Hurt's gift for somehow being likable at the same time he seems to be withdrawn.

What Hurt achieves here seems almost impossible: He is depressed, low-key and intensely private through most of the movie, and yet somehow he wins our sympathy. What Kasdan achieves is just as tricky; I've never seen a movie so sad in which there was so much genuine laughter. "The Accidental Tourist" is one of the best films of the year.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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The Accidental Tourist movie poster

The Accidental Tourist (1989)

121 minutes

Kathleen Turner as Sarah

William Hurt as MacOn

Ed Begley Jr. as Charles

David Ogden Stiers as Porter

Geena Davis as Muriel

Amy Wright as Rose

Bill Pullman as Julian

Robert Gorman as Alexander

Bradley Mott as Mr. Loomis

Directed by

  • Lawrence Kasdan

Screenplay by

  • Frank Galati

Produced by

  • Charles Okun
  • Michael Grillo

Photographed by

  • John Bailey
  • Carol Littleton
  • John Williams

Based On The Novel by

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Reviewed by Larry McMurty

  • Sept. 8, 1985

IN Anne Tyler's fiction, family is destiny, and (nowadays, at least) destiny clamps down on one in Baltimore. For an archeologist of manners with Miss Tyler's skills, the city is a veritable Troy, and she has been patiently excavating since the early 1970's, when she skipped off the lawn of Southern fiction and first sank her spade in the soil which has nourished such varied talents as Poe, Mencken, Billie Holiday and John Waters, the director of the films ''Pink Flamingos'' and ''Polyester.''

It is without question some of the fustiest soil in America; in the more settled classes, social styles developed in the 19th century withstand, with sporelike tenacity, all that the present century can throw at them. Indeed, in Baltimore all classes appear to be settled, if not cemented, in grooves of neighborhood and habit so deep as to render them impervious - as a bright child puts it in ''The Accidental Tourist'' - to everything except nuclear flash.

From this rich dust of custom, Miss Tyler is steadily raising a body of fiction of major dimensions. One of the persistent concerns of this work is the ambiguity of family happiness and unhappiness. Since coming to Baltimore, Miss Tyler has probed this ambiguity in seven novels of increasing depth and power, working numerous changes on a consistent set of themes.

In ''The Accidental Tourist'' these themes, some of which she has been sifting for more than 20 years, cohere with high definition in the muted (or, as his wife says, ''muffled'') personality of Macon Leary, a Baltimore man in his early 40's who writes travel guides for businessmen who, like himself, hate to travel.

The logo on the cover of these travel guides (''The Acciental Tourist in England,'' ''The Accidental Tourist in New York,'' etc.) is a winged armchair; their assumption is that all travel is involntary, and they attempt to spare these involuntary travelers the shock of the unfamiliar, insofar as that's possible. Macon will tell you where to find Kentucky Fried Chicken in Stockholm, or whether there's a restaurant that serves Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli in Rome. Macon himself is so devoted to his part of Baltimore that even the unfamiliar neighborhoods he visits affect him as negatively as foreign countries.

Like most of Miss Tyler's males, Macon Leary presents a broad target to all of the women (and even a few of the men) with whom he is involved. His mother; his sister, Rose; his wife, Sarah, and, in due course, his girlfriend, Muriel Pritchett - a dog trainer of singular appearance and ability - regularly pepper him on the subject of his shortcomings, the greatest of which is a lack of passion, playfulness, spontaneity or the desire to do one single thing that they like too do. This lack is the more maddening because Macon is reasonably competent; if prompted he will do more or less anything that's required of him. What exasperates the women is the necessity for constant prompting.

WHEN attacked, Macon rarely defends himself with much vigor, which only heightens the exasperation. He likes a quiet life, based on method and system. His systems are intricate routines of his own devising, aimed at reducing the likelihood that anything unfamiliar will occur. The unfamiliar is never welcome in Macon's life, and he believes that if left to himself he can block it out or at least neutralize it.

Not long after we meet him, Macon is left to himself. Sarah, his wife of 20 years, leaves him. Macon and Sarah have had a tragedy: their 12-year-old son, Ethan, was murdered in a fast-food joint, his death an accidental byproduct of a holdup.

Though Macon is as grieved by this loss as Sarah, he is, as she points out, ''not a comfort.'' When she remarks that since Ethan's death she sometimes wonders if there's any point to life, Macon replies, honestly but unhelpfully, that it never seemed to him there was all that much point to begin with. As if this were not enough, he can never stop himself from correcting improper word choice, even if the incorrect usage occurs in a conversation about the death of a child. These corrections are not made unkindly, but they are invariably made; one does not blame Sarah for taking off.

With the ballast of his marriage removed, Macon immediately tips into serious eccentricity. His little systems multiply, and his remaining companions, a Welsh corgi named Edward and a cat named Helen, fail to adapt to them. Eventually the systems overwhelm Macon himself, causing him to break a leg. Not long after, he finds himself where almost all of Miss Tyler's characters end up sooner or later - back in the grandparental seat. There he is tended to by his sister. His brothers, Porter and Charles, both divorced, are also there, repeating, like Macon, a motion that seems all but inevitable in Anne Tyler's fiction -a return to the sibling unit.

This motion, or tendency, cannot be blamed on Baltimore. In the very first chapter of Miss Tyler's first novel, ''If Morning Ever Comes'' (1964), a young man named Ben Joe Hawkes leaves Columbia University and hurries home to North Carolina mainly because he can't stand not to know what his sisters are up to. From then on, in book after book, siblings are drawn inexorably back home, as if their parents or (more often) grandparents had planted tiny magnets in them which can be activated once they have seen what the extrafmilial world is like. The lovers and mates in her books, by exerting their utmost strength, can sometimes delay these regroupings for as long as 20 years, but sooner or later a need to be with people who are really familiar - their brothers and sisters - overwhelms them.

Macon's employer, a man named Julian, who manages to marry but not to hold Macon's sister, puts it succinctly once Rose has drifted back to her brothers: ''She'd worn herself a groove or something in that house of hers, and she couldn't help swerving back into it.'' Almost no one in Miss Tyler's books avoids that swerve; the best they can hope for is to make a second escape, as does the resourceful Caleb Peck in ''Searching For Caleb'' (1976). Brought back after an escape lasting 60 years, Caleb sneaks away again in his 90's.

Macon, less adventurous than Celab Peck, is saved from this immolation-by-siblings through the unlikely agency of Edward, the Welsh corgi. Unnerved byy the dissolution of his own secure routine, Edward begins to crack up. He starts attacking people, including Julian and Macon's brothers too, one of whom, in a brilliant scene, Edward trees in the family pantry at the very moment that Macon is experiencing an anxiety attack in a restaurant on top of a building in New York.

Re-enter Muriel Pritchett, the dog trainer Macon had met earlier when forced to work out emergency boarding arrangements for Edward. Muriel is everything the Learys are not: talkative, confrontational, an eccentric dresser, casual about word choice. She lives with her sickly child, Alexander, in a Baltimore neighborhood that is not much less foreign to Macon than, say, Quebec. Muriel is also very different from Sarah.

Nonetheless, to the horror of his family, Macon moves in with Muriel. His indifference to his former life is os great that he doesn't even get upset when the pipes in his own house burst, ruining his living room. Muriel, despite her apparent unsuitability, ''could raise her chin sometimes and pierce his mind like a blade. Certain images of her at certain random, insignificant oments would flash before him: Muriel at her kitchen table, ankles twined around her chair rungs, filling out a contest form for an all-expense-paid tour of Hollywood. Muriel telling her mirror, 'I look like the wrath of God' - a kind of ritual of leavetaking. Muriel doing the dishes in her big pink rubber gloves with the crimson fingernails, raising a soapy plate and trailing it airily over to the rinse water.''

Macon, a fairly keen self-analyst, recognizes that while he does not exactly love Muriel, he ''loved the surprise of her, and also the surprise of himself when he was with her. In the foreign country that was Singleton Street he was an entirely different person.''

Surprise, however, is not quite enough; not to ne so wedded to the familiar as Macon. Sarah, the not-yet-divorced wife, though a singularly articulate critic of Learys in general and Macon in particular, finds that all her criticisms do not entirely invalidate Macon as a mate. She wants him back, Muriel wants to keep him, and a fierce tussle ensues, one in which Macon takes a largely spectatorial interest. He cannot entirely resist the suitable Sarah, nor forget the unsuitable but vivid Muriel.

The final scenes of this drama take place in Paris, where the two women manage to corner him. Even as Macon is aking his decision, he is reassured by a sense that in a way it is only temporary, life being, in his scheme of things, a stage from which none of the major players ever completely disappear.

''The Accidental Tourist'' is one of Anne Tyler's best books, as good as 'Morgan's Passing,'' ''Searching for Caleb,'' ''Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.'' The various domestic worlds we enter - Macon/Sarah; Macon/ the Leary siblings; Macon/Muriel - are delineated with easy skill; now they are poignant, now funny. Miss Tyler shows, with a fine clarity, the mingling of misery and contentment int eh daily lives of her families, remind 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.

TWO aspects of the novel do not entirely satisfy. One is the unaccountable neglect of Edward, the corgi, in the last third of the book. Edward is one of the more fully characterized dogs in recent literature; his breakdown is at least as interesting and if anything more delicately handled than Macon's. Yet Edward is allowed to slide out of the picture. Millions of readers who have managed to saddle themselves with neurotic quadrupeds will want to know about Edward's situation.

The other questionable element is the dead son, Ethan. Despite an effort now and then to bring him into the book in a vignette or a nightmare, Ethan remains mostly a premise, and one not advanced very confidently by the author. She is brilliant at showing how the living press upon one another, but less convincing when she attempts to add the weight of the dead. The reader is invited to feel that it is this tragedy that separates Macon and Sarah. But a little more familiarity with Macon and Sarah, as well as with the marriages in Miss Tyler's other books, leaves one wondering. Macon's methodical approach to life might have driven Sarah off anyway. He would have corrected her word choice once too often, one feels. Miss Tyler is more successful at showing through textures how domestic life is sustained than she is at showing how these textures are ruptured by a death.

At the level metaphor, however, whe has never been stronger. The concept of an accidental tourist captures in a phrase something she has been saying all along, if not about life, at least about men: they are frequently accidental tourists in their own lives. Macon Leary sums up a long line o fher males, Jake Simmes in ''Earthly Possessions'' is an accidental kidnapper. The lovable Morgan Gower of ''Morgan's Passing,'' an accidental obstetrician in the first scenes, is an accidental husband or lover in the rest of the book. Her men slump arond like tired tourists - friendly, likable, but not all that engaged. Their characters, like their professions, seem accidental even though they come equipped with genealogies of Balzacian thoroughness. All of them have to be propelled through life by (at the very least) a brace of sharp, purposeful women - it usually takes not only a wife and a girlfriend but an indignant mother and one or more devoted sisters to keep these sluggish fellows moving. They poke around haphazardly, ever mild and perennially puzzled, in the foreign country called Life. If they see anything worth seeing, it is usually because a determined woman on the order of Muriel Pritchett thrusts it under their noses and demands that they pay some attention. The fates of these families hinge on long struggles between semiattentive males and semiobsessed females. In her patient investigation of such struggles, Miss Tyler has produced a very satisfying body of fiction.

Larry McMurty's most recent novel is ''Lonesome Dove.''

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Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist – The Meaning in a Nutshell

Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell

Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist (1985)

Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist (1985) is a novel about ordinary people who appear to be increasingly extraordinary as one learns more about their characters and their lives. 

The story centres on Macon Leary’s journey of personal development.  It begins by presenting him as being excessively introverted, too meticulously organised, and pessimistic.  It concludes with him becoming more open to interacting meaningfully with the places and people he encounters, which enhances the quality of his life. 

Parallel to this, Macon’s journey also involves him overcoming his depression that resulted from his grief over the loss of his son and subsequent broken marriage, a psychological condition that enhanced his already introverted nature and associated excessive behaviours.  The novel involved him finding a new relationship with a bright, mercurial, optimistic woman, Muriel, whose presence helped him to become able to love again. 

Anne Tyler seems to see the world in terms of dichotomies and compromises.  She seems to see all relationships as somewhat imperfect, but she believes that the most rewarding relationships are those where different people complement each other in ways that bring out the best in each individual.  Correspondingly, she implies that relationships that fail to do this should be reconsidered. 

Nevertheless, Anne Tyler seems to believe that all relationships involve compromises.  In each successful relationship depicted in the novel, each partner compromised to facilitate the formation of a viable and mutually satisfying bond. 

Student resources by Dr Mark Lopez

© Mark Lopez 2021 All RIGHTS RESERVED

The purpose of the concise notes of Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell is to provide much needed help to students seeking to unlock the meaning of the texts with which they have to deal.  (More elaborate notes are provided in lessons as part of my private tutoring business.) 

Subject: The Accidental Tourist meaning, The Accidental Tourist themes, The Accidental Tourist analysis, The Accidental Tourist notes

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Review: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

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The Accidental Tourist

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56 pages • 1 hour read

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

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Chapters 17-20

Character Analysis

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Summary and Study Guide

Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist is a literary fiction novel that follows the character-driven story of Macon Leary, who must navigate life following the death of his son and the dissolution of his marriage. The Accidental Tourist was originally published in 1985 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The Accidental Tourist is Anne Tyler’s 10th novel and one of her most recognized works. This study guide follows the paperback Berkley edition released in 1986.

Plot Summary

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Macon Leary is a writer based out of Baltimore who creates travel guides for people who must travel on business but do not want to be bothered with discomfort or unexpected experiences. Macon is an expert at finding the most comfortable and convenient solutions to average problems. While driving back from a beach vacation, Macon’s wife, Sarah , informs him that she wants a divorce. It’s been a year since their son, Ethan, was unexpectedly killed, and the two have grieved in very different ways. After Sarah moves out, Macon restructures their house, creating a multitude of systems and contraptions to maximize comfort and convenience. When it comes time for Macon to go on his next trip for work, he goes to board the family dog, Edward . He learns Edward is blacklisted from the vet for biting a worker last time he was boarded. Desperate, Macon finds another vet, where he meets Muriel Pritchett. Muriel is talkative and great with dogs. She agrees to let Macon board Edward and proposes that she give Edward obedience lessons. Macon declines and goes on his trip. When he returns, he commits to more systems to run the house. As these systems break down, Macon has an accident, resulting in a broken leg.

Macon moves in with his siblings, Rose , Charles, and Porter, while his leg heals. The Leary siblings are as peculiar as Macon with their habits, rituals, and organizational tendencies. They don’t answer the phone, eat baked potatoes often, and play the same made-up card game they’ve played since they were children. Macon’s siblings complain about Edward’s behavior, but Macon struggles to do anything about it because Edward belonged to Ethan. Finally, after being bit on the hand, Macon reaches out to Muriel, who has persistently tried to get Macon to hire her ever since they met. Muriel is great with Edward and helps Macon teach Edward things like sitting, staying, and walking on a leash. Edward struggles to learn to lie down, so Macon calls the vet. The clerk informs Macon that Muriel is out that day because her son is sick. The next time Macon sees Muriel, he asks how her son is, and she loses her temper because he wasn’t supposed to know about her son yet. Macon fires Muriel in the same scene because she harshly punishes Edward. As Macon’s leg heals, he struggles to overcome his grief from Ethan’s death and his separation from Sarah. When Sarah invites Macon to dinner, he proposes they have another baby to resolve their marital issues, but Sarah instead tells Macon she wants a divorce and cites his seemingly callous reaction after Ethan’s death and lack of comfort to her as her reason.

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After Macon gets his cast off, he flies to New York for work. He visits a skyscraper restaurant, where he has a panic attack after realizing he’s distanced himself from everyone he’s ever cared about. He calls home to ask for help despite his siblings being states away and learns that Edward is misbehaving and has cornered Charles in the pantry. Macon has no one else to call to help Charles and take Edward, so he calls Muriel and asks for her help. Not only does Muriel agree to rescue Charles, but she also comforts Macon and talks him down from his panic. When Macon returns from New York, he allows Muriel to begin training Edward again, and the two begin to spend a lot more time together. Muriel tells Macon all about her life and her son, Alexander. She invites Macon to come to dinner at her house, but Macon is afraid to do so, thinking it will feel like he’s finding substitutes for Sarah and Ethan.

When Macon goes to deliver a letter to Muriel to explain why he won’t have dinner with her, she surprises him with her tenderness, and Macon opens up about his grief regarding Ethan and the way he’s distanced himself from everyone. Muriel invites Macon to sleep in her bed, and he allows her to lead him to her room and tuck him in. Macon begins to spend much more time with Muriel and Alexander, eating dinner with them, helping Alexander with his homework, and joining them at Muriel’s parents’ house for Christmas. Macon’s relationship with Muriel heals him and helps him become less distant from the people around him. He moves in with her and gets to know the people of her street better than he ever knew his own neighbors. He forms a special bond with Alexander, teaching him to fix household items and taking him shopping for clothes.

Eventually, Muriel’s tendencies begin to wear Macon down. He is bothered by her misuse of words, her persistence, her insecurities, and her chaos. Muriel tries to convince Macon to take her to France, but Macon tells her no. Muriel presents Macon a calendar for the current year to show him she’s picked out a wedding day for them. Macon tells her he’s not interested in marrying again because he thinks only perfect couples get married, which leads to an argument and more tension between the couple as time passes.

After encountering Sarah at a wedding, Macon finds Sarah reaching out to him more and more during a trip to Canada. Sarah calls him in every city, at first asking if she can move back into their house because her lease is ending, then just wanting to talk about the weather. She hints that she wants to get back together with Macon and tells him she wishes she were with him in Canada. When Macon lands back in Baltimore, he drives home to Sarah instead of driving to Muriel’s house. They rekindle their relationship, much to Muriel’s heartbreak. Macon and Sarah begin to put their lives back together, buying new furniture and reassembling the house after it was damaged in a snowstorm during Macon’s absence. When Sarah is not around, Macon finds himself longing to talk to someone. He calls Muriel to ask about Alexander’s allergy shots, and Muriel scolds him for having the audacity to contact her about Alexander after abandoning them.

When Macon leaves for France, Muriel shows up on his same flight, having booked the same hotel. Muriel insists that Macon needs her, and Macon feels Muriel will be extremely unprepared to travel in Paris. Macon does his best to avoid Muriel, and she gets along fine without him. He eventually agrees to have dinner with her at a Burger King in Paris, where Muriel fills Macon in about the people on her street. She asks him to come to bed with her, but Macon declines. After several days in Paris, Macon starts day trips to other cities. When he goes to invite Muriel to join him, he throws his back out and becomes incapacitated. He calls his publisher to inform him of the delay, and word gets back to Sarah, who shows up in Paris to take care of Macon. She informs Macon that she saw Muriel, and he tells her that she followed him to France on her own accord. Sarah becomes excited about having a second honeymoon with Macon while they’re in France. One night, she asks Macon why he didn’t do anything to stop Muriel from getting on the plane with him. Macon doesn’t have an answer and realizes he’s never made any major life decisions on his own. Everything that has happened to him has resulted from passively accepting things. He stays up all night thinking and eventually decides to return to Muriel, realizing she is better for him.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The accidental tourist: a wistful tale of emotional healing, 4 comments:.

what does the accidental tourist mean

"Wistful." The perfect description. I am often baffled by the Academy's choices in the music categories. Too often. "they store their groceries in alphabetical order" Sounds like something on the autism spectrum, if some of my son's quirks are anything to go by. An interesting quirk. "one of his tips is to always carry a book on planes, so you can read and not have to interact with other passengers" I always have a book with me. Doesn't everyone. Or is that one of my quirks. H'm.

what does the accidental tourist mean

I saw this film years ago and had forgotten all about it until your post. Clearly, I need to see this again. Caftan Woman (above) nailed it when she said "wistful" is the perfect description. I completely agree.

what does the accidental tourist mean

I missed The Accidental Tourist when it was in release and somehow never caught up to it. I suspect it's Geena Davis, an actress I never warmed to for some reason. Body Heat, on the other hand, I own and have watched time and again. A masterful neo-noir - with an excellent score by John Barry, by the way. As for the Academy - its voting habits seem to me a mystery in so many key categories...

what does the accidental tourist mean

Such interesting characters and relationships. I normally don't happen to read books about relationships per se, but this one was captivating and far more interesting in its every-day events and twists as the main character works his way through grief over the loss of his only child. As different a journey for the reader as it is for the main characters. Luzia Highly recommended KRW Personal Injury Lawyers

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what does the accidental tourist mean

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

  • Publication Date: April 9, 2002
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345452003
  • ISBN-13: 9780345452009
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The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist is a slow, sonorous and largely satisfying adaptation of Anne Tyler's bestseller of one man's intensely self-contained passage from a state of grief to one of newfound love.

By Variety Staff

Variety Staff

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The Accidental Tourist is a slow, sonorous and largely satisfying adaptation of Anne Tyler’s bestseller of one man’s intensely self-contained passage from a state of grief to one of newfound love.

William Hurt is an uptight, travel book writer from the slightly eccentric, financially comfortable Leary family of unmarried middle-aged siblings in this essentially simple narrative story awash in warmth and wisdom about the emotional human animal.

Weighty tone is set from the opening scene where Kathleen Turner, having just made tea for Hurt upon his return from a travel-writing excursion, calmly informs him she’s moving out. Then, in a series of strange, unpredictable and out-of-character encounters with his unruly dog’s trainer (Geena Davis), Hurt finds himself in another, vastly different, relationship. Davis is unabashedly forward, poor, openly vulnerable, a flamboyant dresser and most importantly, has a sickly son (Robert Gorman) who fills the parental void in Hurt’s life.

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That Hurt remains expressionless and speaks in a monotone, except at the very end, puts a damper on the hopefulness of his changing situation. Davis is the constant, upbeat force in the proceedings. Turner is equally compelling and sympathetic throughout.

1988: Best Supp. Actress (Geena Davis).

Nominations: Best Picture, Score, Adapted Screenplay

  • Production: Warner. Director Lawrence Kasdan; Producer Lawrence Kasdan, Charles Okun, Michael Grillo; Writer Frank Galati, Lawrence Kasdan; Camera John Bailey Editor Carol Littleton; Music John Williams Art Bo Welch
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 121 MIN.
  • With: William Hurt Kathleen Turner Geena Davis Amy Wright Bill Pullman Ed Begley Jr

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The Accidental Tourist

by Anne Tyler

The accidental tourist themes.

Before The Accidental Tourist has even begun, Macon and Sarah Leary have lost their son in a tragic and senseless way. This loss has directly led to their own relationship also disintegrating. Throughout the book, we see how the couple separately deals with their grief. For Macon, it is a particularly difficult struggle. Instead of trying to confront his pain head-on, he suppresses it with his many strange "systems" of organization that he implements, reflecting this resistance to fully dealing with his own emotions. Among all of the Leary siblings, there is this common reluctance to acknowledge the reality of death and loss. Macon is frustrated by the way no one has uttered Ethan 's name since he was killed; it is not until his niece Susan speaks about Ethan that it occurs to Macon that others also mourn his son.

As the book progresses, Macon somewhat comes to terms with Ethan's death, realizing that the only way to truly heal from grief is not to forget Ethan but rather to imagine him as still alive through memory, co-existing in a parallel realm. Yet Macon's ultimate choice at the end of the book—to leave Sarah for Muriel Pritchett —also demonstrates that part of him wants to start anew and cast his old life with Ethan and Sarah into the past, in order to protect himself from more potential loss and have some sense of control over his destiny.

Love and the loss of it haunt the entirety of The Accidental Tourist . The story shows Macon grappling to discover the true meaning of love. It is clear that he loves Sarah and his son Ethan, but he has lost both of them. As a result, Macon struggles with motivation to live, feeling that, through loss, love has been taken from him. Yet Macon gradually comes to recognize that connections with others—whether it be with his deceased son or his estranged ex-wife—endure, despite separation. This is one of the central currents of the novel.

Macon is faced with distinguishing between comfort and true love. When he first parts from Sarah, he misses her deeply and can't imagine life with any other woman; Sarah is the one who "gets" him and his eccentricities. When Muriel crosses his path, he initially resists opening up to her, but when he finally does, he is magnetized into her very different and colorful world. He falls in love with Muriel for totally different reasons than his attraction to Sarah; her contrasting nature helps Macon to come further out of his shell and embrace the messiness of life that he has long feared. For him, this is a new view of love that is something beyond his comfortable routine. His ultimate choice to be with Muriel over Sarah, despite his persevering feelings for his first wife, is a decision to embrace the sort of love that challenges him and helps him to become a better person.

Macon has a strong tendency to isolate himself, whether it be physically or emotionally. After Ethan dies, he locks himself even more deeply in his own emotions, refusing to share his thoughts and pains with his wife Sarah, leading to their separation. Macon often reflects on how he has difficulty communicating with others and has isolated himself in a sort of shell that prevents genuine contact with the outside world. Yet this is his comfort zone, and he has a hard time leaving it. Ironically, Macon writes tour guides for a living, but even when he ventures off to exotic foreign cities, he remains in his own bubble, staying in hotel rooms until he can fly back home again to familiar surroundings. He even hides behind a large book on every plane and train ride in order to avoid any social interaction. Starting a relationship with Muriel is one way Macon starts to come out of his isolation to embrace a different type of life.

One common characteristic of the Leary family is the need for control. Macon, for instance, uses a highly controlled routine to feel safe in the world. After a tumultuous childhood, where their unstable mother Alicia was frequently moving the children around, the Leary siblings have learned to cope through implementing strict and often strange modes of organization. This is exemplified after Macon's separation, when he invents bizarre ways of dealing with chores, such as creating a "body bag" so he does not have to wash his linens. His sister Rose is also fond of tightly organizing the household regimen, demonstrated in the way she alphabetically arranges the groceries.

Yet even with all the effort to control, Macon is still left helpless when it comes to his unruly pet dog, Edward . Of course, Edward is merely a mirror for the emotional chaos that Macon suppresses through his carefully planned "systems." The process of training Edward runs parallel to Macon beginning to allow his own inner fears to be tamed, coming out of his self-imposed alienation to date Muriel. He starts to realize that despite his desire for stability, life will never be controllable or predictable: even after the tragedy of losing his son, he still must open up and take risks in life.

Eccentricity

Many of Anne Tyler 's characters in The Accidental Tourist are highly eccentric. This is ironic, considering that Macon and Sarah crave to live some elusive "normal" life after the death of their son. They begin to tire of the eccentricities of one another. Sarah, especially, has grown weary of the Leary family's peculiar habits and rituals, such as the endless rules to their after-dinner card games. Both Sarah and Macon discover, however, that "normal" does not really exist. Macon dates Muriel, who has a slew of her own strange qualities. Sarah dates a man whose eccentricities bother her, to the point that she cuts off the relationship.

Macon, who is a quietly observant character, often notes the strange people who populate his neighborhood or the foreign places he visits. His awareness of the little quirks of others brings him a sort of comfort and deeper understanding of humanity, even while he keeps his distance. For instance, the highly frightened old woman he meets on one plane ride helps him to feel more stable and normal.

Modern marriage

The marriage of Macon and Sarah—along with its dissolution—is a central component of the novel. In older times, marriage was seen as an unbreakable vow, where the couple is supposed to work out differences for the sake of the union. In more modern times, divorce has become extremely common, with slight disagreements becoming fodder to permanently part ways. This is at play in Macon's relationship, where the death of a child draws the two apart instead of bringing them closer. In this time period (the 1980s), it has become more acceptable to take space apart in order to figure out which each partner truly wants. Even when Macon is with Muriel, he declines her marriage proposal, remarking that the formality of marriage is overrated. In one way, we can see Macon's point of view, yet in another, it is clear that Macon's argument is less a philosophical one than it is a reflection of his fear of commitment.

Good and evil

Even in the seemingly tranquil suburban setting that Anne Tyler's characters occupy, the battle between good and evil appears as a prominent theme in the story. Macon and Sarah's son, Ethan, has been killed randomly and brutally while at a fast-food restaurant. This senseless death shatters his parents' lives, waking them up to the fact that evil is not an abstract concept but rather something that can deeply touch anyone at any time. After Ethan's murder, Sarah in particular struggles with living in what she now considers to be a dark and evil world.

Despite the obvious evilness that lurks in society, Macon comes to see that there is also much good, such as in the benevolent encounters he has with strangers while traveling. In this way, the novel underscores the idea that good and evil begin in the small and trivial interactions of daily life and that each person has the choice of which side they wish to perpetuate.

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The Accidental Tourist Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Accidental Tourist is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Standing water in the road is compared to a wide lake.

A wide lake, it seemed, in the center of the highway crashed against the underside of the car and slammed it to the right.

How does Macon meet Muriel?

Macon meets Muriel when he hires her to train his dog.

How is Macon described in Chapter 1?

From the text:

He was a tall, pale, gray-eyed man, with straight fair hair cut close to his head, and his skin was that thin kind that easily burns.

Study Guide for The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist study guide contains a biography of Anne Tyler, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Accidental Tourist
  • The Accidental Tourist Summary
  • Character List

Essays for The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler.

  • The Accidental Acceptance: Family and Modernity in 'The Accidental Tourist' and 'Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant'

Lesson Plan for The Accidental Tourist

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to The Accidental Tourist
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • The Accidental Tourist Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for The Accidental Tourist

  • Introduction
  • Plot summary

what does the accidental tourist mean

Mon 22 Jul 2024

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Edinburgh urged to copy Barcelona’s ban on Airbnb-style rentals

Housing crisis in scotland’s tourist hotspot demands ‘radical solutions’, says tenants’ union.

Members of the Living Rent tenants' union in Edinburgh protest against short-term lets in the city (Photo: supplied)

Edinburgh should bring in a Barcelona-style ban on short-term holiday rentals listed on platforms such as Airbnb , housing campaigners have said.

The Spanish city’s mayor announced last month that it would phase out all holiday rentals by 2028 in a bid to boost residents’ access to housing .

With Edinburgh facing a housing crisis , the Living Rent tenants’ union told i that it wanted Edinburgh City Council to introduce a similar crackdown to bring thousands of holiday homes in the Scottish capital back into residential use.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Edinburgh was the most popular town or city in the UK to visit outside of London in 2023, with 2.3 million visits.

But the short-term let industry says it is being scapegoated while Airbnb said the city’s housing shortage was down to not enough properties being built.

Eilidh Keay, Living Rent’s Edinburgh chair, said: “What Barcelona is doing is a really good step – we should move towards banning short-term lets in Edinburgh.

“An outright ban, or at least something that brings about a significant reduction in Airbnb-type lets, would be the best way forward,” she added. “The housing emergency means we need to think more radically.”

The call comes as controversy continues over the new licensing regulations imposed by Edinburgh council on short-term let operators in 2023 to stop so many flats being let to tourists.

I can’t rent to Edinburgh Fringe tourists right now because of new letting laws

I can’t rent to Edinburgh Fringe tourists right now because of new letting laws

The Labour council leader, Cammy Day, previously told i that the crackdown was working , and was now “returning holiday homes to their primary use as residents’ homes”.

Just over 8,000 properties were listed on Airbnb as “whole-house” short-term lets in Edinburgh in 2019, according to council figures .

By the end of last year, it had dropped to just over 4,648, suggesting that more 3,350 holiday rentals have been removed from the online platform.

Despite the drop-off, Living Rent said the regulations do not go far enough. The union’s chair said having thousands of holiday rentals was still proving disruptive.

“They’re bad for local housing provision, they’re bad for local communities,” said Ms Keay, adding that the “noise” and the “constant turnover” from tourists made people feel less safe in their homes.

“The tourist industry in Edinburgh functioned before Airbnb and other platforms, and it can function after it. Owners can still put their property on the long-term rental market – no-one is preventing them from making profits.”

Edinburgh declared a “housing emergency” in November. Just over 24,000 individuals or families are on the waiting list for social housing in the city, and more than 3,200 households were deemed homeless last year.

Katharina Bandmann, 26, who lives in the city, is keen for the council to go further with its regulatory crackdown. “Every building I’ve lived in has some sort of holiday let. Every time I’ve moved, they are an issue.”

She said the front door of some tenement buildings in her neighbourhood – near the Meadows area – have six or seven different lockboxes for holiday lets.

“You have a new group of people every few days, you don’t know if they are going to be smoking, waking people up at night,” she said of the holiday let in her current building.

Katharina Bandmann, Edinburgh resident and member of Living Rent tenants' union (Photo: supplied)

Ms Bandmann, a member of Living Rent, said she would welcome a new push to phase out short-term lets in Edinburgh to help with the city’s housing shortage. “It’s a radical problem and it needs a radical solution.”

Barcelona’s socialist mayor Jaume Collboni last month announced plans to scrap licences of more than 10,000 short-term holiday apartments in the city by 2028 to boost housing supply.

The slogan “tourists go home” has been daubed on walls in popular areas of the city , which has seen residents’ groups stage protests against what they see as overtourism .

The regulations introduced in Scotland’s tourist hotspot last year means Edinburgh’s short-term let providers have been asked to pay anywhere between £2,500 and £6,000 for licences, depending on the size of their property.

The Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC) said many professional operators of B&Bs and other “secondary lets” – a property where you do not normally live – were being put out of business by the rules.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the ASSC, dismissed the idea of a Barcelona-style ban and said current rules amounted to a “de facto ban” on secondary lets.

BARCELONA, CATALONIA, SPAIN - 2024/06/19: An anti-tourism placard is seen in the center of the demonstration. Thousands of people have gathered on Arag??n Street to protest against the Formula 1 car exhibition and the Fan Festival in the city center that has caused enormous traffic jams and air pollution. Protesters demand that the city should not be for sale to big elitist commercial brands. (Photo by Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“It is highly disingenuous to blame short-term lets for the housing crisis in Edinburgh,” Ms Campbell told i , saying the sector was being used “as a convenient scapegoat”.

“There is a desperate need for short-term let accommodation in Edinburgh. If you don’t have it, it will cause huge damage to the economy.”

Short-term let operators previously said that they had been left “in limbo” by the new rules.

Warning of a potential squeeze on accommodation during this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, most are operating under provisional or temporary licences until they get a final decision by local authority chiefs.

Council figures show that 4,000 short-term rental operators have applied for licences, including those who let a single room or let their own flat on a temporary basis during festival season.

Of the 2,085 professional, secondary-let operators, only 204 have been granted full, permanent licences so far, according to i analysis of application data.

‘We’ve had enough – Barcelona can survive without tourists’

'We’ve had enough - Barcelona can survive without tourists’

The ASSC estimates that only between 300 to 400 of these self-caterers will survive the whole process, which also involves gaining planning permission.

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “Since short-term rental rules were implemented in Edinburgh, rents have hit a decade high, families have lost vital income, hotel prices have sky-rocketed and guests have been priced-out of stays and are favouring the North of England instead.

“The root cause of housing challenges in Edinburgh is a lack of new homes being built.”

Airbnb said it has taken steps to reduce noise from guests, including a ban on parties at homes on its platform introduced in 2020.

Edinburgh council’s regulatory convener, Neil Ross, would not comment on Living Rent’s call for a Barcelona-style ban on short-term lets.

But he said he was “confident” that a public consultation on the regulations, due to be launched in the week ahead, would help the council “better understand” the impact of the policy.

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Crime and Public Safety | 5 hospitalized after food truck explodes in…

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Crime and Public Safety

Crime and public safety | 5 hospitalized after food truck explodes in whittier.

what does the accidental tourist mean

Los Angeles County firefighters were called to the 6700 block of Greenleaf Avenue just past 9:15 a.m. on a report of an explosion, said Robert Diaz, a dispatch supervisor.

The food truck was believed to be sitting in front of a coffee business, Diaz said.

Whittier police and Los Angeles County firefighters investigate after a...

Whittier police and Los Angeles County firefighters investigate after a food truck exploded in the 6700 block of Greenleaf Avenue, wounding five people Saturday morning, July 20. (Photo by OnScene.TV)

Whittier police and Los Angeles County firefighters investigate after a...

In addition to the two people with critical wounds, two others had moderate injuries and another had minor ones, Diaz said.

All five were characterized as having burns, Whittier Police Lt. Brenna Dineen said.

Investigators looked into the explosion and deemed it accidental, Dineen said.

“We don’t know exactly how it was caused, but it was some sort of fire inside of the truck, possibly caused by a propane tank,” she said. “We don’t suspect anything criminal at this time.”

Additional information was not immediately available.

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COMMENTS

  1. The Accidental Tourist

    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 in 1985 and the Ambassador Book Award for Fiction in 1986. 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.

  2. The Accidental Tourist movie review (1989)

    Advertisement. The screenplay for "The Accidental Tourist," by Kasdan and Frank Galati, is able to reproduce a lot of the tone and dialogue of the Anne Tyler novel without ever simply being a movie version of a book. The textures are too specific and the humor is too quirky and well-timed to be borrowed. The filmmakers have reinvented the same ...

  3. The Accidental Tourist Analysis

    The Accidental Tourist is a celebration of the strength inside the human heart to overcome the apathy that is often created by this type of society. Tyler's women, especially Muriel Pritchett ...

  4. The Accidental Tourist

    The logo on the cover of these travel guides (''The Acciental Tourist in England,'' ''The Accidental Tourist in New York,'' etc.) is a winged armchair; their assumption is that all travel is ...

  5. The Accidental Tourist

    The Accidental Tourist Anne Tyler 1985 Introduction Author Biography Plot Summary Characters Themes Style Historical Context Critical Overview Criticism Sources For Further Study Introduction. When The Accidental Tourist was published in 1985, Anne Tyler was already a well-established and successful author. Her tenth novel soon became a best seller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

  6. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

    Dr Mark's The Meaning in a Nutshell. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist (1985) Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist (1985) is a novel about ordinary people who appear to be increasingly extraordinary as one learns more about their characters and their lives.. The story centres on Macon Leary's journey of personal development. It begins by presenting him as being excessively introverted ...

  7. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler: 9780345452009

    A fresh and timeless tale of unexpected bliss, The Accidental Tourist showcases Tyler's talents for making characters—and their relationships—feel both real and magical. "Incandescent, heartbreaking, exhilarating…One cannot reasonably expect fiction to be much better than this.". — The Washington Post.

  8. The Accidental Tourist (film)

    The Accidental Tourist is a 1988 American romantic drama film directed and co-produced by Lawrence Kasdan, from a screenplay by Frank Galati and Kasdan, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Anne Tyler.The film stars William Hurt as Macon Leary, a middle-aged travel writer whose life and marriage have been shattered by the tragic death of his son. It also stars Kathleen Turner and Geena ...

  9. The Accidental Tourist: A Novel

    The Accidental Tourist. : Travel writer Macon Leary hates travel, adventure, surprises, and anything outside of his routine. Immobilized by grief, Macon is becoming increasingly prickly and alone, anchored by his solitude and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts. Then he meets Muriel, an eccentric dog trainer too optimistic to ...

  10. The Accidental Tourist Summary

    Summary. PDF Cite Share. Sarah and Macon are driving home from a vacation. A year earlier, twelve-year-old Ethan Leary had gone to summer camp in Virginia. One evening, he and another camper had ...

  11. Review: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

    This is a book for any reader. Perhaps the greatest achievement of The Accidental Tourist is how brilliantly Tyler inhabits the male psyche. Her portrayal of Macon and the inner workings of his mind shows a deep understanding of a reality of which Tyler does not have first-hand experience. Fundamentally, this is the key skill of any novelist ...

  12. The Accidental Tourist

    The Accidental Tourist. The story of a travel-hating writer of travel books, Macon Leafy, who systematically avoids adventure... until he meets the frizzy-haired, stiletto-heeled, astonishing Muriel (she's trying to train his unmanageable Welsh corgi, Edward), who up-ends Macon's world and thrusts him into engagement with life.

  13. The Accidental Tourist Summary and Study Guide

    Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist is a literary fiction novel that follows the character-driven story of Macon Leary, who must navigate life following the death of his son and the dissolution of his marriage. The Accidental Tourist was originally published in 1985 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.The Accidental Tourist is Anne Tyler's 10th novel and one of her most recognized works.

  14. The Accidental Tourist

    The Accidental Tourist. Anne Tyler. Penguin, May 5, 2015 - Fiction - 368 pages. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author—an irresistible novel exploring the slippery alchemy of attracting opposites, and the struggle to rebuild one's life after unspeakable tragedy. Travel writer Macon Leary hates travel ...

  15. The Accidental Tourist: A Wistful Tale of Emotional Healing

    Kathleen Turner as Sarah. Based on Anne Tyler's 1985 award-winning novel, The Accidental Tourist (1988) is a wistful film filled with quiet surprises. It's a decidedly sharp change of pace from the first collaboration between William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and director Lawrence Kasdan. That would be 1981's sexy film noir Body Heat, in which ...

  16. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

    A site dedicated to book lovers providing a forum to discover and share commentary about the books and authors they enjoy. Author interviews, book reviews and lively book commentary are found here. Content includes books from bestselling, midlist and debut authors.

  17. The Accidental Tourist Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

    Essays for The Accidental Tourist. The Accidental Tourist essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. The Accidental Acceptance: Family and Modernity in 'The Accidental Tourist' and 'Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant'

  18. The Accidental Tourist Summary

    The Accidental Tourist opens with Macon and Sarah Leary driving back home to Baltimore in the rain after a vacation at the beach. When Macon refuses to stop the car, Sarah suddenly announces that she wants a divorce. She accuses Macon of being incapable of comforting her, especially after the tragic murder of their 12-year-old son, Ethan.

  19. The Accidental Tourist

    The Accidental Tourist is a slow, sonorous and largely satisfying adaptation of Anne Tyler's bestseller of one man's intensely self-contained passage from a state of grief to one of newfound love.

  20. The Accidental Tourist Study Guide

    The Accidental Tourist is a novel written by the American author Anne Tyler in 1985. The novel revolves around a protagonist named Macon Leary, a middle-aged writer of travel guides. Macon and his wife of 20 years, Sarah, struggle to maintain their relationship after their son is tragically killed in a random murder at a fast-food restaurant.The couple decides to separate, sparking a deeply ...

  21. Urban Dictionary: accidental tourist

    When wiping your ass and a finger accidentally pokes through the toilet paper.

  22. The Accidental Tourist Themes

    The Accidental Tourist study guide contains a biography of Anne Tyler, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. ... The story shows Macon grappling to discover the true meaning of love. It is clear that he loves Sarah and his son Ethan, but he has lost both of them. As a result, Macon ...

  23. Edinburgh urged to copy Barcelona's ban on Airbnb-style rentals

    The regulations introduced in Scotland's tourist hotspot last year means Edinburgh's short-term let providers have been asked to pay anywhere between £2,500 and £6,000 for licences ...

  24. 5 hospitalized after food truck explodes in Whittier

    Investigators looked into the explosion and deemed it accidental, Dineen said. "We don't know exactly how it was caused, but it was some sort of fire inside of the truck, possibly caused by a ...