Anne Tyler's ninth novel, published in 1982. It is one of the most powerful novels written in recent times. Warning, some minor "spoilers" follow. It is most basically the sad story of a dysfunctional family; in its own way, it is almost a novel version of Death of a Salesman from a different perspective. Pearl is thirty and almost resigned as an old maid when she meets and marries the younger Beck Tull, a salesman for he Tanner Corporation. Their marriage quickly deteriorates and a few years later he leaves her and their three children, never to return from his "business trip." Pearl is a harsh mother, but accomplishes the difficult task of single-handedly raising three children. Cody becomes an efficiency expert. Jenny becomes a pediatrician. And to Pearl's chagrin, gentle Ezra returns from the Korean War with no greater ambition than to continue living at home and to operate a restaurant. Ezra's dream is that one day his own family will come together for a happy family meal at the Homesick Restaurant.

Anne Tyler's real strength in this novel is characterization. In many novels, characters are shown in a single light. In Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, every character is a round character in some way, and a real human being. This novel is so powerful because it deals with the hidden, gritty problems of families and the cycles of pain they endure.