Rate this book. Buy This Book. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore though she lived only twenty minutes away , walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married.
IN , when Fanny Trollope published her travel book ''Domestic Manners of the Americans,'' one reviewer called it a ''spiteful, ill-considered and mischief-making book. Tyler's last three novels have focused, even more than her best-known ones like ''Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant'' and ''The Accidental Tourist,'' on domestic dislocations. In ''Ladder of Years,'' Delia Grinstead, on what looks like a whim, leaves her husband and children, finding a new place and a new identity; Barnaby Gaitlin, the divorced father in ''A Patchwork Planet,'' has a whimsical indisposition to settle down anywhere; and Rebecca Davitch, the year-old grandmother in ''Back When We Were Grownups,'' is introduced as ''a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person. Jane Austen's comic novels end in marriage; Tyler's bittersweet one begins with the marriage of her two ''amateurs,'' Michael Anton and Pauline Barclay, who are thrown together when Pauline is brought into the Anton grocery store for treatment of a wound she's incurred jumping off a streetcar to join an enlistment parade.
The plot concerns the marriage of Michael Anton and Pauline Barclay, who meet when he tends to her bloodied brow in his family's grocery store, located in a primarily Eastern European enclave in Baltimore , in December They marry after Michael is discharged from the Army with a permanent injury caused by a deliberate shot from someone he assaulted. Michael and Pauline settle in a small apartment above the store, but their widely different temperaments and expectations quickly create dissension in the relationship. He is repressed, controlling, and quiet; she is loud, emotional, and romantic.
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