A Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel by Anne Tyler:
This porch was not just long but deep—the depth of a smallish living room. In her early years here, when she was a gung-ho young housewife, she had ordered an entire suite of wicker furniture varnished the same honey-gold as the swing—a low table, a settee, and two armchairs—and arranged them in a circular “conversational group” at one end of the porch. But nobody wanted to sit facing away from the street, and so gradually the chairs had migrated to either side of the settee and people once again sat in a straight line gazing outward, not at each other, like passengers on a steamship deck. Abby thought that summed up her role in this family. She had her notions, her ideas of how things ought to be, but everyone proceeded as he or she liked, regardless.