"A Patchwork Planet, Pulitzer Prize-winning Anne Tyler's 14th novel, finds the black-sheep son of an old Baltimore family attempting to get his life on track....Recalls Tyler's early works, such as Celestial Navigation and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, which...are peopled by genuine eccentrics whose grip on the world is charmingly, but definitely, precarious...Anne Tyler lovingly captures that world."
"I don't know whether anyone has called Tyler a fin-de-siècle Jane Austen. I guess I'll do it here. Like Austen's, Tyler's books are full of life's little lessons, closely observed and compassionately recounted....A Patchwork Planet is filled with pleasure and pain. That the pleasure triumphs is [Tyler's] final kindness to us, her readers."
In A PATCHWORK PLANET, Tyler returns to what she does best --- writing about the common lives of average people in a way that penetrates the ordinary to reveal the extraordinary. This is Barnaby Gaitlin's story. Barnaby, in his own words, is a "man you can trust." As the black sheep of an established and philanthropic Baltimore family, he lives on the margins. As teenagers, Barnaby and his friends went on thieving missions in their privileged neighborhoods. Barnaby, though, was far less interested in stealing people's property than using the window into their lives that breaking and entering and looking through their belongings presented to him. Barnaby was the one who got caught in the neighbors' bushes holding their valuable property, and he was sent off to the Renascence School, a special school for "the gifted young tester of limits."