Tyler continues to explore American lives and Characters in her 1998 novel, A Patchwork Planet. In this work, Tyler relates the story of Barnaby Gaitlan, star employee of Baltimore’s Rent-a-Back, Inc. At the age of 30, Barnaby is divorced and still not finished with college or free of a debt to his parents. He helps senior citizens sort out their attics and basements while they fend off attempts to put them in nursing homes. Another Tyler work that explores family life is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), relating the history of the Tull family. Additionally, The Accidental Tourist (1985) remains a favorite of many Tyler fans. The story concerns recently divorced travel writer Macon Leary, who hates travel. Macon moves home with his temperamental dog, Edward, and has a relationship with the dog’s trainer.
A television film adaptation of Breathing Lessons was released in 1994. Under the direction of John Erman, the movie starred James Garner, Joanne Woodward, Paul Winfield, and Kathryn Erbe.