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Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
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Oct 07, 10


I love that Tyler has such a clear and personal voice in literature. I could have turned to any page of this book with no idea who it was by and figured it out after reading just one paragraph.

Anne Tyler has mastered the art of the lovable loser. In this latest book it is personified in Liam Pennywell. Twice married, (once widowed, once divorced) father of three grown daughters, recently laid off from the latest in a string of teaching positions, Liam wakes up one day in a hospital bed, apparently the victim of a home invasion. He is less troubled by the apparent violent blow he has taken to his head than by the fact that he can't remember any part of the event.

His obsession with finding his lost memories leads him inexplicably into a May-December romance with the assistant of a local wealthy businessman. Eunice is clumsy, socially awkward, and in Liam's mind, completely, refreshingly naive and unfettered by weighty life experience.

His accident has also brought his daughters and ex-wife into closer proximity to his life for the first time in many years. His reclusive and simplified life is suddenly bursting at the seams with vivid, often eccentric, feminine companionship.

I enjoyed the novel as I expected to...you don't read an author's entire body of work unless you like the product. However, it was a little morally ambiguous for me. The ending was also classic Tyler- filled with poignant, simple, bitter-sweetness. Tyler drives a story more through character than plot and can make a storyline without any real tragedy become tragic. I find myself thinking about her latest "loser" for days.
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Yvonne If a string is two then Liam has had a string of jobs and a string of marriages. Is that like a two game losing streak?


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