The adoption of children from faraway countries is a sociological innovation of our internationalist age. Since the 1990s, when the governments of the Far East finally opened up to the eager adoptive parents of the wealthy West, thousands of babies have made the long journey into a new land and a different culture. How very natural that Anne Tyler, that keen-eyed chronicler of modern family life, should want to pick up and examine the minute domestic implications of their arrival.
Her brilliant new novel opens in the arrivals area of Baltimore Airport on a steamy August Friday night in 1997. Two very different families are eagerly awaiting two very different little bundles. Brad and Bitsy (the daft name is both unexplained and entirely plausible) are supported by the entire Donaldson