3.5 stars. it's been a while since i've read anne tyler; i only wish i hadn't started reading her years ago, before i was ready. she's really wonderful, but completely understated, and so i didn't appreciate all the books of hers i read when i was much younger. this book is lovely. she (if i remember her others that i've read correctly) often writes about people who unintentionally discover themselves, through 'mundane' living. there's not a lot that this book is 'about' but it's this very real description of these two people's lives through the decades. The issues and feelings that are behind the scenes of everyday living. Communication, unhappiness and how people deal with that differently, self discovery. i liked this book quite a bit, and am very glad to be reacquainted with anne tyler."...So they'd gone to Aronson's Portrait Studio - Michael in his suit, Pauline in her gray silk - and the photographer had arranged them in front of a velvet curtain that puddled in artful folds around their feet. 'A little closer together,' he'd said. 'Mrs., lift your chin a bit...Mr., put your arm around Mrs....' Michael had obeyed, encircling Pauline's waist and clasping her elbow just inside the hem of her sleeve; and something or other - the new sponginess of her bare skin, perhaps, or the unfamiliar scent of the silk - had made him feel for just an instant that he was standing next to a stranger. Who was this woman? What did she have to do with him? How could the be expected to share a house, rear children together, combine their separate lives for all time? The knob of her shoulder pressing into his armpit had felt like an inanimate object.Yet the finished photo on Pauline's bureau showed an ordinary couple: Mr. and Mrs. Perfectly Fine, standing side by side and smiling the same stiff smile. A gilt-framed commercial. An advertisement for marriage.""He wished he had inhabited more of his life, used it better, filled it fuller."