Anne Tyler: Breathing Lessons

(1639 words)
  • Martin Kich (Wright State University )

Breathing Lessons is a domestic comedy with undercurrents of deep pathos. It is also a generational novel and a road novel. As in many of her other works, Tyler explores how ordinary characters are defined by and can be understood through the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities that, under certain circumstances, become transformed into compulsions.

Divided into three parts, Breathing Lessons focuses on the family and friends of Ira and Maggie Moran, a middle-aged couple. The first and third sections are told largely from Maggie’s point of view. In particular, the narrative in the first section contains many near non-sequiturs, euphemisms, somewhat odd or oddly inserted metaphors, and unusual, slightly dated …

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Kich, Martin. "Breathing Lessons". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 January 2004
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]